PEI

Chilean school sponsored by UPEI ready to go it alone

A five-year project by the University of Prince Edward Island to help establish a school for Indigenous children in southern Chile is in its final month.

Wekimün School was a partnership between UPEI and local community

School work at Wekimün includes doing projects in the community. (Wekimün School/Flickr)

A five-year project by the University of Prince Edward Island to help establish a school for Indigenous children in southern Chile is in its final month.

The university is handing over the Wekimün School project in Chiloé, Chile to the local community it partnered with to develop it.

The curriculum for the school includes a mix of classroom and field work.

"The whole design of the project was going into the communities and speaking with community members about what they wanted to learn, and what they wanted to preserve about their culture," said project manager Debbie MacDonald.

"Our team has transformed that into a really interesting curriculum that's really focused on working and learning outside of a classroom setting."

In addition to classrooms, the school includes orchards, an old-growth forest, a coastal path, and a chicken coop.

Community projects

Research fellow Pablo Aránguiz Mesías is visiting from Chiloé this week to make a presentation on the status of the school.

Mesías said the project is already having a big impact on local communities. Students return to their communities and create projects as part of their schoolwork. Engaging the community in the work is part of the project.

Pablo Aránguiz Mesías will give a presentation on the Wekimün School project this week. (UPEI)

"They have been working really hard through all the whole year in solving problems that communities are having,"

While UPEI is in its last month of involvement in the project, MacDonald hopes the connection between Chiloé and P.E.I. will continue.

While Mesías is on the Island he will meet with local Mi'kmaq, in the hopes of establishing connections between the Indigenous peoples of P.E.I. and Chiloé.

With files from Island Morning