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Students and their pizza from the solar oven

During Middle School's Pillar Week, Grades 6-8 engage in off-timetable learning as part of the school's innovative Global Leadership Program.

Grade 6 focuses on leveraging social media for wellness, with students developing and presenting innovative product pitches to a panel of judges.

Grade 7 delves into Indigenous skills, immersing them in leather and wool mitten-making, lacrosse, fire safety, outdoor cooking, and solar oven creation at PC’s outdoor education property, Blue & Silver Farm.

In Grade 8, it’s all about food, exploring everything from food insecurity to nutrition. The week culminates with students creating culturally fused, budget-conscious smoothie bowls for a food truck fair where they showcase both their culinary and entrepreneurial skills.

Learn more about Middle School at Pickering College

Students making croissants

The students of Grade 8 French have been building upon their reading comprehension skills by following traditional French recipes. This challenge was designed to build new culinary skills in addition to the students’ pre-existing math, science and French language knowledge.

To begin, students were introduced to a monastic recipe from the 1500s. Using this, the classes created chocolate mendiants, a traditional French confectionery popular in the weeks preceding Christmas. The five teams who succeeded in tempering the Belgian chocolate achieved a high glossy sheen, a skill that involves several heating and cooling cycles using a thermometer and within only a few degrees Celsius of accuracy.

In the following lesson, students created their own croissants from scratch based on Julia Child's classic recipe. The students’ efforts in laminating and rolling many layers of dough was rewarded with a flaky pastry result achieved by all teams, and which some students stated to be really quite tasty.

Through this experience, students learned about French culinary culture and gastronomy, but also gained an appreciation for careful team leadership and precise reading comprehension; at the end of the challenge, teams that followed the instructions closely received tastier rewards and sweeter treats.

As part of the Middle School Pillar Week, the Grade 7 project focused on outdoor education as well as Anishinaabeg Traditional Teachings. It took a holistic approach that incorporates Indigenous lessons on the Medicine Wheel, Dene Games, The Seven Grandfather Teachings, and the ongoing drinking water crisis on First Nation Reserves.

The Grade 7 classes identified connections between their experiences and those of the Indigenous Peoples of our region. They learned about the Medicine Wheel and the four quadrants, were introduced to the four states of well-being including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, and discussed the importance of balancing and nurturing each aspect of their life. The students also learned about traditional cooking methods, inventions, and designs, and engaged in cross-curricular activities including survival skills, fire starting, and mitten making.

To ground their learning further, PC’s Outdoor Education Specialist Ms. Hunt, led the students in a traditional Anishinaabeg Smudging Ceremony. As a settler on Turtle Island, Ms. Hunt shared her experiences and teachings, which she was gifted by Dr. Nicole Bell and Betty Carr-Braint from Trent University’s First Peoples House of Learning. The students engaged in the ceremony by setting an intention, adventuring to the outdoor classroom, and partaking in the ceremony while immersing themselves in the nature of the back acreage. Participating throughout the week enabled Grade 7 students to deepen their appreciation and respect of a culture both different from their own and one that is incredibly important to our land. ​

As a culminating experience, Anishinaabe Knowledge Keeper Kim Wheatly (whose spirit name translates to English as Head or Leader of the Fireflower), a member of the Turtle Clan, met with the students. She shared knowledge, lived experiences, and perspective regarding the Indian Act, residential schools, and the Truth and Reconciliation 94 Calls to Action. Applying this knowledge, the students learned how they could become better allies with Indigenous Peoples to make change going forward. The students then wrote thoughtful letters to the Canadian government to encourage members of parliament to address the ongoing injustices Indigenous Peoples are facing. 

  • Global Leadership Program