Preschool & Elementary School Programs

May through August

AGE: 2-5 years old
Cost: $1.00/child, $7.00/adult (if going through museum)

The Ogwehonweh love berries, especially strawberries!  Learn the Ogwehonweh legend on the origin of strawberries and celebrate this summer treat through strawberry-based crafts and activities.


Self-guided tours of the museum follow.


September through November

AGE: 2-5 years old
Cost: $1.00/child, $7.00/adult (if going through museum)

Vegetables – the bane of preschoolers – are the focus of this craft-filled program.  We make no guarantees the children will leave craving vegetables, but they will know the importance of corn, beans, and squash in the Ogwehonweh world.


Self-guided tours of the museum follow.


December through January

AGE: 2-5 years old
Cost: $1.00/child, $7.00/adult (if going through museum)

It is not until after the first frost that the Anishnaabe Elders will begin telling traditional stories to the young.  Using a variety of storytelling methods, a variety of First Nations’ legends are brought to life for preschool visitors.  Sit back and enjoy an hour of fun and learning.


Self-guided tours of the museum follow.


February through April

AGE: 2-5 years old
Cost: $1.00/child, $7.00/adult (if going through museum)

Making maple syrup, sugar, and candy was hard work for the Anishnaabe people who gathered maple sap every spring.  Preschoolers are invited to make maple-based crafts.  A special maple candy treat is our gift to each child.


Self-guided tours of the museum follow.


Elementary School Programs:

Museum Tours:      1 – 1 ½ hours

The museum collection is the basis of all tours scheduled at the Woodland Cultural Centre. Within the parameters of the museum, a visiting class can expect lessons to include or emphasize First Nations technology, ecology, cultural arts, familial roles, political evolution, traditional teachings, environmental dependency, sociological relationships, exploration, and many other topics. The Woodland Cultural Centre has the advantage of being an institution devoted to the study of specific cultures throughout time – the Centre is not limited in its study by topic, time, or mandate. As such, the Centre can offer the visiting class its choice of thematic programming within the general areas of Ogwehonweh culture.

The museum of the Woodland Cultural Centre was established around the concept of a timeline. Visiting groups are conducted through the museum facility from prehistoric times (circa 1400 AD, although the Centre boasts artifacts up to 12000 years of age), into the present. The dioramas portray the events which have shaped the history (and prehistory) of Southern Ontario as seen through First Nations eyes. From the earliest evidence of Neutral Iroquoian settlements to the modern portrayal of Native people in the world’s media, the Woodland Cultural Centre examines the First Nations cultures and themes prevalent in the landscape of Southern Ontario. The vast number of artifacts and the wealth of knowledge which is present in the museum often leave instructors to choose a general tour of the facilities, making for the best educational option for their students.

Museum Scavenger Hunt:       30 – 45 minutes

One of our most popular activities is the Museum Scavenger Hunt which encourages students to explore the museum using more than their eyes and ears. For groups not wishing a guided tour, a general introduction accompanied by the Museum Scavenger Hunt is an excellent alternative. The children are sent through the museum to find, feel, listen, draw and answer a series of 20 questions/statements. This activity does not emphasize right or wrong answers but instead is concerned with the experience of the student while at the Cultural Centre.

Instructors interested in this option will be emailed a code to access the Scavenger Hunt so they may photocopy an appropriate number for their students to use on the day of their tour. Instructors will also receive a sample “answer” sheet when they visit the Woodland Cultural Centre on the day of their tour.

Special Exhibits:      30 - 60 minutes

Course studies can also be examined through the Woodland Cultural Centre’s changing exhibits. Approximately every two months the Centre hosts a new First Nations exhibit (or 2) which can be used to more closely examine the nuances of Woodland cultures. Please check with the Programming & Exhibitions Calendar to get a listing of events.

Video/DVD Presentations:      15 – 30 minutes

The choice to include one of the many stellar videos/DVDs in the collection of the Woodland Cultural Centre is another option for instructors to choose from. The Cultural Centre has no desire to repeat activities that can be done just as well or better in a classroom setting; however in this age of financial restrictions the Centre also realizes not all schools have access to the quality of videos available at the Centre. The video presentation option is one half hour in length and is ideal for introducing the Woodland cultures to a class just beginning its study of these cultures.

The video collection of the Cultural Centre ranges from general introductory videos to theme specific videos (which can be edited for time availability); ideal for a variety of thematic programs such as environmental study, traditional teachings, cultural education, current issues, and general interest.

Discovery Labs:      1 hour

Students learn best by doing – taking basic information and applying this information in a hands-on manner. The Woodland Cultural Centre wants students to have the opportunity to explore the information they are discovering at the Centre without interpretation from staff; thus the Discovery Labs have been created for students to develop self-directed learning skills. Each lab comes with a minimum of written information which students then use to accomplish a task. For instance, in the kit entitled “Mohawk Village” students read a historical journal account of Mohawk Village and a mock journal account written by a nine-year old villager. From these accounts student must then plot the village buildings on a map using model homes and a large plotting map. Instructors can then see how well the students have processed the information they’ve read, by checking the accuracy of the student’s plotting.

As this activity emphasizes self-discovery, Centre staff will be on hand to monitor the lab area but do not guided the students’ learning. The Discovery labs are an excellent follow up to the Guided Museum Tour and have been created to compliment the Ontario School Curriculums (grades 2 to 8).

Craft Workshops: 1 – 1 ½ hours
Mandatory with Full Day Tour

Enabling students to learn by doing is an aspect of the Cultural Centre’s repertoire which can be incorporated into a half or full day tour, completing the Woodland experience. Simple yet challenging traditional techniques are employed to demonstrate to children the appreciation Woodland people had (and have) for their environment and material possessions – when one has to make all of their possessions (rather than purchase them), one tends to feel more respectful of the items themselves. Instructors can choose from Pottery (all ages), Imitation Bone Bracelet (grades 5 to 8), Real Bone Bracelets/Armbands (grades 9 to adult), Leather Pouches (grades 5 to 8), Ring and Pin (grades 1 to 6), and Corn Husk Dolls (grade 3 to 6) workshops for their class’ enjoyment and education. To cover the cost of materials for these creations, all participants are assessed a craft workshop fee.

The ability to create their own piece of Native-style art fulfills not only the basic human need to create but also satisfies the curriculum expectations in the study of visual arts for all grade levels – knowledge of elements, creative work, and critical thinking. As well, the workshops are placed into a cultural context with the what, when, where, why, and how answered through diagrams, verbal explanations, and displays according to the chosen workshop.

Residential School Tours:      1 hour

The Woodland Cultural Centre occupies the buildings formerly used by the Mohawk Institute, a residential school for Native children that closed in 1970. The Cultural Centre was created as a direct result of the cultural abuse (one of many types of abuse present at this school) suffered by those young people who attended school at the “Mush Hole” , as a means to combat cultural genocide. Although many of the rooms have been remodeled, the Centre still maintains stark evidence of its former use. In order to educate Canada’s young regarding this blight on Canadian-Native relations so that it might never happen again, the Cultural Centre offers tours of the Residential School. Taken from the events and stories of the school in the early to mid twentieth century, the residential school tour highlights student experiences, living conditions, rules and regulations, and government response to these realities.

Students can expect to find evidence of many things from graffiti to turn of the century laundry facilities during this tour. Teachers are cautioned to remember this is not a “feel good” tour and will be graphic, horrific and emotional for very sensitive people. Please use your best discretion when choosing this tour option – it is the greatest resource the Woodland Cultural Centre has at our disposal for teaching cultural understanding but it is also terrifyingly real.

Traditional Woodland Games:       45 - 60 minutes

Depending upon the weather, a visiting class may be given the opportunity to experience an aspect of life common to a traditional Woodland child from hundreds of years ago – playing games. The Woodland Cultural Centre offers both simple indoor games and more complex outdoor sports to visiting classes. Students from grades one to three are not yet strong enough to play some of the outdoor sports, so it is suggested instructors of these grades opt for indoor games (unless the younger students come in conjunction with older students).

The traditional games component of a Woodland Cultural Centre tour emphasizes the fundamental movement skills required in the Health and Physical Education curriculum guidelines. Locomotion, manipulation and stability in combination with body awareness, space awareness, effort, and relationships are all essential to learning and playing traditional Woodland games such as longball, lacrosse, doubleball, and snowsnakes. The indoor games such as bone and toggle, scattering sticks, and bone dice work upon a child’s small muscle control and their eye-hand co-ordination. The indoor handheld individual games are also mind stimulating in comparison to the more physically demanding outdoor sports.

Traditional Social Music & Dance Workshops:       45 – 60 minutes

A surprisingly popular option (Even among grade 6 boys!), the traditional music and dance workshop provides participants with the opportunity to learn and practice a number of traditional Ogwehonweh dances. In combination with a variety of traditional games to set the “mood” for the dances, this workshop highlights musical instruments, traditional musical recordings, and simple social dance techniques. This activity option is an excellent means to combat stereotyping as students learn the difference between real First Nations dances and the Hollywood version.

Be sure to ask the Cultural Interpreter to show you the Duck Dance – the all time favourite dance of visiting groups.

How Pricing Works:

When booking a tour of the Woodland Cultural Centre, instructors will be advised as to the pricing of the activities they select. A half-day tour lasts 2 – 2 ½ hours and can incorporate two activities. A full-day tour lasts 4 – 4 ½ hours and usually incorporates 3 or 4 activities, one of which is a craft workshop.

All student visitors pay the admission rate. If your group desires a guided tour, a guide fee is added to the admission rate. With the guided tour fee a number of supplementary programs are offered at no extra charge – Discovery labs, video presentations, museum scavenger hunts, and some special exhibition tours. If your group would like special programming (games instruction, residential school tour, dance instruction, etc) an additional fee is added to the total admission.

If your group then wants to stay for a full day tour a workshop fee is added to the admission, programming and guided tour fees.