Experiential learning through community celebrations and special events

Published in Brunswick News

August 6, 2016

 

The countdown is on! In less than a year, Canadians from coast to coast to coast will be dusting off their noisemakers and birthday hats to celebrate our great nation’s 150th anniversary (Canada 150). Teachers, parents, guardians, friends, families, and communities will be invited to take full advantage of special events to provide young New Brunswickers with an opportunity experience all that is Canada. As new generations have continuously learned their culture and values from their families and communities; this is what has kept our vibrant Canadianness alive for 150 years. Canadian values include the importance of treating everyone with respect, dignity, and fairness; freedom of expression; and a deep appreciation for diversity. These are the foundational pillars that shape who we are as Canadians – warm-hearted, genuinely caring and accepting people. 

Not to downplay the role of formal education but there is something to be said about the teachings and learnings that happen outside of the classroom. Special events can be a perfect occasion for children to live and learn what it means to be a Canadian, and more specifically what it means to be a New Brunswicker.  For example, family vacations can take place at one of New Brunswick’s historical sites, museums, cultural events, during music and art festivals, during a Canada 150 signature event, or simply by meeting a new friend while building a sand castle on the beach. Participating in such community-based activities can help develop an understanding and appreciation of New Brunswick’s rich and diverse history and cultural heritage.

Luckily, New Brunswick offers a bountiful playground for experiential learning for all ages. We have opportunities to exchange and learn from our First Nations; we can experience our province’s folklore and tourism destinations in both English and French; we have access to a continuously evolving cultural mosaic composed of newcomers allowing us to experience new cultures and customs. Our province also boasts many traditional arts and trades that can be passed down from generation to generation through apprenticeship. On top of that, ‘Canada 150’ will surely provide possibilities for us to participate in a festive and celebratory atmosphere that will undoubtedly enhance our knowledge of the cultural and linguistic diversity in New Brunswick. It will assuredly be a wonderful occasion to increase interactions, exchanges and respectful celebrations of our linguistic and cultural diversity – both as a bilingual province and as a bilingual nation.

The upcoming year will be a great opportunity to learn about each other, to learn about our province, and to learn about our country. For example, did you know that New Brunswick was one of the four initial signatories to Confederation? Did you also know that the British North America Act, signed on July 1, 1867 finalized the union of the province, giving birth to the Dominion of Canada? Did you know that Samuel L. Tilley is recognized as our province’s Father of Confederation? These historical nuggets only scratch the surface of what next year can offer about our nation’s history and the possibility to experience firsthand Canadian and New Brunswick shared values outside of the classroom. So how will you celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation?

For Dialogue NB, it’s clear that everyone has a role to play in what makes this place great. The organization is pleased to offer programs and activities that provide opportunities where respectful interactions, shared celebrations, and positive exchanges can occur among English-speaking and French-speaking New Brunswickers. Not only will we be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation, but 2017 will also be the 25th anniversary of our staple Pen-pal program. As program alumni have voiced, by talking to one another, you’d be surprised what we can learn about each other. Dialogue NB is looking for program alumni to join in the celebration. Are you planning to attend? 

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