Census and Capturing Colours

Day 21download

Ah….the Long weekend!  It’s amazing how with one extra weekend day, one feels like there is time to slow down. So instead of my regular Saturday routine of creating my list of errands and figuring out the most efficient way of ensuring that all purchases were made in record time, I decided to enjoy the spring weather and walk to the library and then to the mailbox to deposit our completed Census.

The Census was a focus of a conversation last weekend in the Bruyns household.  When it arrived (it was actually left hanging on the front door for a number of days) I had purposefully placed it on the piano, where all of the other “important” pieces of mail get placed.  My husband dug it out from the pile and put in a place of honour on the island with a large post-it note.  My daughter, when she read about the potential fine, decided last Sunday night that we would collaboratively complete it.  My only responsibility in the whole process was to place it in the mailbox ~ thus the reason for today’s walk.   I know that from an education lens we use the information in the census when collecting and analyzing the demographical information about our school community. That piece of data is but one component that we use when developing school improvement plans. The challenge in ever-changing neighbourhoods is that the information is shared in 5 year increments and therefore not always reflective of the current families that we are supporting.

I am assuming that the information collected in the Census is also used to inform other decisions in terms of community supports etc.  And yet, in knowing the challenges that the Bruyns’ household had in terms of ensuring that ours was completed and submitted,  I started to wonder what is in place for so many other families?  For families who may not have a stable home?  For our newcomer families who may not understand how to read or complete it.  There was an English and a French version ~ but nothing in Arabic, Spanish or Korean.  Just a morning thought.

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) male in breeding plumage, perched in flowering Eastern Redbud, NY, USA


As I started home, I noticed a brightly coloured yellow oriole as he swooped down and nestled into the branches of a dark purple lilac and my first reaction was to grab my phone and capture it.  But, as this was a “rare” quiet walk (no phone, no music, no audiobook) I couldn’t take a picture.  Within minutes, as I turned the corner, a brown squirrel was scurrying up the trunk of a tree.  And at no point, did I even once think about capturing it.  I wonder why that is?  Do we automatically assume that only the bright and colourful are worth capturing?

I started to reflect on the work that we’ve been doing this year in terms of pedagogical documentation and the rich discussions we’ve been involved with. The core of each of those discussions has always been to ensure that what we are capturing is indeed reflective of growth in learning and not just bright, shining, photogenic pictures.

Who knows….maybe today was the first day that my brown squirrel who had been attempting to climb that brown trunk was finally successful? And my yellow oriole was repeating a landing gesture that was mastered months ago.

squirrelWe need to keep our eyes open at all times, know the stages of our learning journeys and not be blinded by the colours.

Come write with me…..