Sacred Heart Schools third graders honor Native land with nature tile project

by Contributed Content on December 14, 2022

Each fall, third graders attending Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) learn the history of the Ohlone people who served as caretakers of the region stretching from San Francisco to Point Sur. The social studies lessons and projects in their homeroom classrooms that focus on Native American history are complemented by art studies on the same topics.

“It creates a really nice, project-based learning loop between their homeroom and the work they undertake in the art studio,” said SHS Lower School art teacher Ciara Bedingfield. “We talk about the fact that we are ‘ancestors-in-training,’ and how we must be good stewards of Mother Earth. By learning about Ohlone cultures, not only in the past, but also today, we hope that we will learn how to live in a closer way with other people and with nature.”

Together the students and Ms. Bedingfield go beyond the art room to observe the beauty on campus and its native animals and plants; they also learn the importance of oak trees and acorns for Native people.

“The students collected leaves, acorns, and other plant material from the majestic White Oak outside the art room. They picked plants from the garden and included local shells from our beaches. Making some careful observational drawings, they then designed and finally glazed a tile for a group mural project,” said Bedingfield.

The tiles from last year’s third grade class were installed in the school art courtyard earlier in the semester, making a lasting tribute to Ohlone land.

Photos courtesy Sacred Heart Schools

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