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Greetings! My name is Noor Iqbal, and today (how time flies!) is my second-last day at the Canoe Museum! I have been working with Karen Taylor and Jen Burnard (the fabulous folks who bring the children’s education programming to you) for the past three weeks. As a student teacher from Queen’s University’s Outdoor and Experiential Education program, I couldn’t have wished for a better practicum placement! I will especially remember the obvious commitment and delight the staff, volunteers, and visitors have in learning new things.

Everyone I met—staff, animators, and volunteers—has been keenly interested and open to sharing their knowledge and learning from each other. I’ve learned a great deal by spending time with the people who make the Museum come to life. I have had valuable conversations with so many individuals: they’ve shared tidbits of historical information about fur trade artifacts, ruminated about cultural appropriation, demonstrated the process of making fire with flint and steel, highlighted considerations in program design, and described how to make artisan handcrafts. But the greatest thing I’ve experienced is the sense that this is a learning community. This museum is a place where everyone contributes their own strengths and supports each other.

Students prepare to create a web as Dave explains: You hold up the weight of everyone else, just as everyone else holds up your weight too.

Students prepare to create a web as Dave explains: You hold up the weight of everyone else, just as everyone else holds up your weight too.


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Let’s free-associate about March Break: palm trees, beaches, coral reefs, rolling waves, Mojitos…

Wait, let me rephrase that:

Let’s free-associate about March Break at The Canadian Canoe Museum: paddle-carving, wanigans, scavenger hunts, soapstone carving, music, hammers, spoke shaves, shave horses…

Now, THAT’S more like it. And no need to slog through airport security.

After last year’s heavily wait-listed March Break program, we’re dramatically expanding our workshop options for kids and youth at the Museum this year, all with our renowned commitment to engaging, creative, hands-on experiences for kids.

And registration starts today, right here.

Our schedule’s on our website, but here’s the full scoop:


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What has felt like a short summer is quickly approaching its end and so is the duration of time that the summer students have spent here at The Canadian Canoe Museum.  Three other lucky ladies and I have had the opportunity to work at and within the Canoe Museum community this summer. From everyday tasks to specialized projects I must say that our time here was well spent and by far a blast!

A typical day for us at the Museum would start by checking in, turning on all the televisions which play short films, opening the gift store and tidying up any little things out of place if needed. From there on who knew what the day would through at us. Some days it would consist of helping out the education faculty. Helping set up for programs such as soap stone or paddle carving or gathering camp equipment for the summer campers.  We could be rearranging an entire room to accommodate 50 students, or 12, or be making crafts for education programs to come. Read the rest of this entry »

I may be a bit late to this party, but someone recently sent me a link to Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talks about education and creativity. As is all too common for my internet rambling, I finally got around to watching them at 2am last Saturday, when I was here at the Museum to be the Awake-All-Night-in-Case-of-Emergency person during the 8thAjax Pathfinders’ visit for an overnight program.  (It’s hard to fit that job title on a name tag, let me tell you.)

By the way, here’s the awesome group of Pathfinders (plus two Girl Guides), looking intrepid and chipper the morning after their sleepover here:

IMG_4693 2013 Apr 13 8th Ajax Pathfinders group shot wigwam WR

But back to me and Sir Ken in the middle of the night.  His talks on creativity and education are full of irreverent wit and sharp insights into the fundamental weakness of how we teach children. “If you’re not prepared to be wrong,” he says, “you’ll never come up with anything original… but our education systems… are set up so that the worst thing you can be is wrong… we’re educating people out of their creative capacities.”   I’ve seen it myself: my daughter used to draw trees as wild, multi-hued scraggles filling her skies. Now she dutifully creates tree trunks that are exclusively brown, with puffy green-cloud tops. Maybe a token apple, red, floating in the monolithic green.

“Creativity must have the same status as literacy,” Robinson says. Right now, our education system “progressively teaches us from the waist up, and is a protracted training for university entrance, favouring academic intelligence. ” The result “is that many brilliant, highly talented, creative people think they’re not,” a tragedy for each of those individual lives, in my opinion. But Robinson’s thinking about the bigger picture:  we can’t afford to squander different kinds of intelligence, he suggests. The kids entering kindergarten today will retire around 2075 – a world we can’t imagine from here, and will require new thinking to navigate.

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