TORONTO, ONTARIO – Humber College's new Two-Eyed Land-based Play and Co-Learning course will help connect early childhood educators, children, and their families with nature and help foster life-long respect for the land.
"We know that outdoor play for children includes unique physical, social and emotional benefits," said Louise Zimanyi, Early Childhood Education professor. “Two-Eyed land-based play and co-learning recognizes the physical, mental, and spiritual connection to the land for all people through experiences and storytelling. Central to this approach is holistic engagement on the land in all seasons, nurturing relationality and giving back for what we receive from the Earth.”
It is also focused on reciprocal relationships that are developed with “All our Relations” - land, water, animals, plant life, and other beings that human beings depend on for survival. For example, when children see the first dandelions of the season, they learn that rather than pick them to take home, they should leave them so bees can benefit from their nectar.
The initiative and research empower students and faculty to see the land itself as a teacher. Learners will gain skills to intentionally engage children, families and other professionals in respectful, reciprocal and responsible relationships with natural ecosystems. The goal is to create a shift in post-secondary early childhood education (ECE) programs and professional ECE settings to include an increased focus on land-based play and learning that embraces multiple perspectives.
"With this initiative, we will be braiding an Etuaptmumk (Two-Eyed Seeing in the Mi'kmaq language) approach, which infuses the strengths of Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing as guiding principles for co-learning,” said Regina Hartwick, associate dean, Indigenous Education and Engagement. “A strength of Etuaptmumk is that it engages Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty, Elders, Knowledge Holders and students as equal partners in the learning process."
This work is guided by the Indigenous Education Protocol for Colleges and Institutes, the Truth and Reconciliation's Report and Calls to Action, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Calls for Justice issued by the National Inquiry into Missing
and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and Humber’s Strategic, Indigenous Education and Engagement, Arboretum and Sustainability Plans. This collaborative work is supported by the Lawson Foundation's Outdoor Play Strategy 2.0 and will launch in January 2021. This initiative will serve as one of eight demonstration projects across Canada that will provide leadership and capacity-building in outdoor play.
About Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning
Humber College is focused on our students' future. As a global leader in polytechnic education, Humber students receive in-depth theoretical learning and hands-on experience with applied research and extensive industry connections. Humber provides career-focused education to more than 33,000 full-time and 23,000 part-time and continuing education students across three campuses. A comprehensive range of credentials including honours undergraduate degrees, Ontario graduate certificates, diplomas, apprenticeships and certificates, prepare career-ready global citizens to move seamlessly from education to employment. More than 86 per cent of Humber graduates are employed within six months of completing their studies. Visit humber.ca.
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