Moon Circle at Coghlan offers Students a Sense of Place

October 25, 2019

There’s a new addition to the play space at Coghlan Fundamental Elementary.

Thanks to the support from the Parent Advisory Committee and the school community, a new friendship circle has been assembled.

“The students love their forest. I’d say at recess time even though we have a huge playground, they play in the forest. The teachers and the PAC wanted to embellish our outdoor area and we wanted some outdoor classrooms, and some outdoor areas where kids could play,” said Linda Klassen, the new principal at Coghlan Fundamental Elementary.

The school decided to put in a friendship circle to give a sense of place and to take advantage of the natural surroundings.

“While working with Ms. Elson our Aboriginal Support Worker, I asked what kind of name do you want for this? We wanted it to be place based and encouraging our connection with nature, our connection with the land, and our connection with our Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement…after quite a bit of conversation, we’ve decided we would do thirteen rocks, for thirteen moons of the Aboriginal calendar,” explained Klassen.

The thirteen rocks are being called a Moon Circle, inspired by the children’s book “Taan’s Moons” which is a Haida Moon Story. It is about a little bear that follows the seasons in Haida Gwaii. On Thursday, the school held a special ceremony with Indigenous drummers to bless the Moon Circle.

“These rocks are not just for class time. They are used by kids to play on. They jump from rock to rock. They play games on it. They sit on it and have a conversation. There are thirteen rocks so that three children per rock could seat a whole class or even two for primary grades,” she said.

The Moon Circle is relevant to the curriculum in that it connects students to Aboriginal understanding, outdoor learning, and social emotional strengthening.

“Students are not allowed to argue in the circle. They solve problems in the circle and make friends in the circle,” she added.

A special thanks goes out to PAC Chair Karyn Smith and her husband who delivered the rocks, to Langley-based Groundwerx Unlimited Contracting Inc. for donating the rocks, and District

maintenance crew for installing the Moon Circle. Coghlan staff and students are grateful.