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Engendering Love of One’s Home with Adolescents

The NewGate School, Global Campus Students, Research Their Place on Earth and Weave a Story to Share

By Amy Kremer-Treibly and Elizabeth Hale

The NewGate School’s Global Campus is composed of students in seventh through twelfth grades who live in Canada, the US, the Caymans, and Tanzania. These students are the first cohort of the Global Campus, and they work together with a dedicated faculty for humanities, math, science, and Spanish academic courses, as well as working in their home communities on creativity, physical wellness, and service.

Adolescents seek answers to key questions: Who am I? Where am I? What’s happening?

In order to gain insights and impressions of where each student resides, they set out as investigators of their own backyard, town, city, and country, with special attention to who inhabited the land first, including animals, plants, and humans. Students have been sharing their stories as presentations to the community in Opening Meetings held each morning of the week. This project offers a rich opportunity for students to explore the question of where do I find myself living right now?

During this process, students access local historical societies and talk to family and neighbors about generational memories of the place. Some students highlight developments, such as industry and railroad access. Others brought names of indigenous tribes to our attention, as well as the plants and animals that have thrived in the past and either do or do not live now. Overwhelmingly, the students learn more about where they call home. In addition to acquiring knowledge of place, by pausing and giving attention to the land that supports our lives, the people who have come before, and the bounty that nourishes us, we all grow in our appreciation and gratitude for home.

It has been said that to love a place and show true care for it, one must spend time, look with earnestness for the hidden treasures to be revealed, and then we can fully celebrate our home. Indigenous wisdom embodies connection and relationship, and for that reason, we like to include the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Greeting, which we read aloud in turns during Council before Thanksgiving. •


Smithsonian Museum Blog.

Amy Kremer-Treibly, M.A. earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology at Loyola University where she also enjoyed studying Spanish during a study abroad term in Quito, Ecuador, and learning about world religions as her minor. She began her teaching career in a refugee resettlement program teaching ESL to adult students from around the world followed by teaching Spanish at the elementary level. While teaching at a Great Books Foundation high school in Arizona, she earned her Master’s Degree in Experiential Education at Prescott College with a focus on building schools and learning experiences to promote engagement, eco-literacy, and stewardship.

Elizabeth Hale teaches Humanities and other courses with NewGate School’s Global campus. She spent the last 13 years developing Heartmoor Farm Education Centre in central Virginia teaching Literature, Humanities, and Mindfulness to adolescents while nurturing her connection with the natural world specifically through contemplative practices, the stewardship of plants, and formal study of Western Herbalism. With 24 years of teaching experience, in classroom environments from Oregon and Ohio to Virginia, she has worked with families through all stages of their children’s development.