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Connexions Articles

Indigenous Puppets Model The IB Learner Profile


Orange Shirt Day is an important annual marker to honour the survivors of residential schools and remember those who didn’t make it home. But it is also critical that we embrace a culturally sensitive learning environment every day, which draws upon and enhances awareness of Indigenous Peoples.

A new example of this approach is the representation and teaching and learning 

of the IB Learner Profile qualities in our Early Years Division. Animal puppets, designed by Indigenous artists, now embody the range of ten aspirational capacities and responsibilities, beyond academic success. 

“It started with our commitment to the First Peoples Principles of Learning," explains Monique Vodrey, Kindergarten teacher. “Young children are drawn to animals, and we knew we could also use the puppets to profile Indigenous perspectives. The book Sharing Our World: Animals of the Native Northwest Coast was our inspiration.”

The IB Learner Profile attributes are taught as individual lessons so that preschool and Kindergarten students can understand their significance, as well the actions and behaviours that reflect the various animals. The content is also woven throughout the curriculum of Units of Inquiry. 

“The puppets illustrate the Learner Profile characteristics through Indigenous stories, role play, and songs. Throughout the year, when children show these principles, we reinforce the ideas by giving them badges with a picture of the animal,” adds Monique.

As IB learners we strive to be: inquirers (Mo the moose), knowledgeable (Bizzy the beaver), thinkers (Shelly the turtle), communicators (Splash the orca), principled (Grace the eagle), open-minded (Magic the octopus), caring (Joy the hummingbird), risk-takers (Streamer the salmon), balanced (Hunter the bear), and reflective (Tricky the raven).