Brand-new Indigenous-themed playground for St. Kateri Tekakwitha School students
The students of St. Kateri Tekakwitha School have not had a playground for 4.5 years and fundraising $300,000.00 was no easy task. FirstService Residential Alberta were honoured to partner with the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) on this exciting project which started in August 2021. FirstService Residential associates donated their time helping erect the structures, along with making a $2,500 donation.
District Elder Wanda First Rider led a smudge and honoured the land and the people with ceremony, dance and song. There was then be a blessing of the playground.
FirstService Residential Alberta President Glenne Manlig was thrilled to bring Indigenous culture and understanding to children through the experience of play. “Play is integral in our kids’ lives and facilitates natural learning through fun and laughter. This new playground promises new experiences where children can naturally absorb the meaning of their surroundings and the significant cultural aspects of Indigenous people,” says Manlig.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha School sits on the ancestral territory of the Siksikaitsitapi, Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, Amskappi Pikuni, as well as the Iyarhe Stoney Nations: Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley, and Métis Nation region 3. The patron saint of the environment, St. Kateri Tekakwitha was an Indigenous woman from the Mohawk nation in Eastern Canada, and the first Indigenous person to be canonized in North America.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha School Principal Sandy Solyom says, “We are very excited to partner with FirstService Residential Alberta on this meaningful project. Our school strongly values and advocates Indigenous culture and teachings. We are committed to truth and reconciliation through education and are honoured to have this playground after a long-anticipated almost five-year wait.”
The playground features a teepee climber, eagle climbing wall and a dream catcher structure. In addition, a separate sharing circle graces the area showcasing the colours of the medicine wheel. And to show the school’s connection to the Treaty 7 Land they gather on, four trees will represent the four directions.
This playground will not just benefit students at St. Kateri Tekakwitha School. Residents in the surrounding communities of greater Forest Lawn and Abbeydale will also have access to this creative and significant space.
Indigenous Education is one of the four priorities of the CCSD Board of Trustees. As such the district is committed to nurturing successful relationships with Indigenous communities; honouring the responsibility of integrating foundational knowledge with Indigenous peoples' perspectives within the curriculum; and embracing and supporting Indigenous students' success and belonging.
About FirstService Residential
In Alberta, FirstService Residential manages more than 303 communities and over 1600 rental units. Community corporations rely on our extensive experience, resources, and local expertise to maximize property values and enhance residents’ lifestyles. FirstService Residential is North America’s property management leader, partnering with 8,000 communities across the U.S and Canada, including low- mid-, and high-rise condominium corporations and cooperatives, as well as mixed-use and rental properties. Dedicated to making a different every day, FirstService Residential goes above and beyond to deliver exceptional service. FirstService Residential is a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation (FSV), a North American leader in the property services sector.
About the Calgary Catholic School District
The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) is the largest Catholic school district in Alberta, serving more than 56,000 students in 117 schools located in Calgary, Airdrie, Cochrane, Chestermere, and the Rocky View County. CCSD educates and empowers students from kindergarten to Grade 12 through its mission of Learning and Learning in our Catholic Faith. For more information, please visit cssd.ab.ca.