Tag Archives: social justice

Bee A Friend Project



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Julie Petrynko, the counsellor at Tecumseh Elementary School, started the Bee a Friend Project with a group of grade 5-7 students.

The problem:  Kids who don’t have anyone to play with at recess or lunch.  They don’t have the skills or perhaps the confidence to join in play with other students.

The questions:  How can we make recess and lunch fun for everyone?   How can we help kids to learn how to make and keep friends?  How can we “show the ENCOURAGE” in the Tecumseh Code of Conduct?

(Tecumseh Code of Conduct => RISE => Respect / Improve/ Safe/ Encourage)

The Plan:

1. With Ms. Petrynko’s guidance, students chose an old bench by the playground to make the site for the “Bee A Friend Bench“.  The idea is for kids to meet at the bench if they want to find a friend to play with or if they need an idea of what to do.

2.  The team of students along with the vice principal enlisted volunteers at recess and lunch to sand the bench and get it ready to paint.  This has been a popular activity.

3.  When school is back in session, the students plan to paint the bench yellow with black accents.  Then they are going to paint bees on to the bench so everyone knows where to go to find a friend or an idea for an activity.

4.  They are hoping to have a celebration to introduce the bench and it’s purpose to the rest of the students at the school.

We’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

This is another idea that has received funding from The Promoting A Culture of Peace for Children Society.  See the War Toys to Peace Art site for how to apply for a grant.


Peaceful Heart & Wounded Heart Project


Funding is available for projects to involve children in expressing their thoughts about peace in artistic ways. See The War Toys To Peace Art website. wartoystopeaceart.org   This project was submitted and written up by Mr. James Chamberlain, VP at McBride Annex in Vancouver, B.C.


Peaceful Hearts &  Wounded Hearts Project

Hearts were designed by our Grade 2 & 3 students to depict peaceful images for Aboriginal people and juxtapose this with hurtful imagery from their residential school history and experiences. Mr. Chamberlain read the students a number of picture books about the negative impacts of residential schools upon Aboriginal people. We discussed the racist laws imposed by the Canadian government which led to forcing Aboriginal families to give up their children to Indian Agents or face jail time. Students were already familiar with laws which banned potlatches and required Aboriginal people to give up their traditional lands to be housed upon reserves.

We linked our learning about the history of residential schools with previous lessons about segregation of black people in Canada and the United States. We had been discussing issues of segregated schools, restaurants, buses, the Civil Rights Movement and the Chinese Head Tax in prior lessons. As part of the Wounded Heart & Peaceful Heart project, we discussed and recorded overt and covert forms of racism that were historically perpetuated against people of colour as well.

Finally, through classroom discussion we linked overt and covert forms of racism, sexism and homophobia together.
These teachings are part of our multi-year focus on Aboriginal Education across the district. This project is just one example of a much larger focus within our school. One of our school goals is to teach students at all grade levels about the positive contributions of Aboriginal history, culture and traditions to our society. We believe that all students benefit from learning about Aboriginal Education.

Promoting A Culture of Peace for Children


This society was founded by Sam Fillipoff, a former BC teacher who was passionate about social justice.  The World Peace Forum was held at the University of British Columbia in 2006.  The art installation presented with Susan Ruzic, a Coquitlam teacher at the time, generated huge interest and enthusiasm. Check out the War Toys to Peace Art site for more information and ideas.