Heather Jefkins

Recipient of the 2019 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching

January 13, 2020

Assiginack Public School, Manitowaning, Ontario

Heather Jefkins’ grades 3/4 students explored the traditional fibre arts of quilting and weaving through a project called Weaving Stories and Stitching History.

The investigation integrated outcomes in social studies, language arts and visual arts through a combination of online research, consultation with community artisans and hands-on experience with both traditional and modern techniques.

Over the course of five months, students had the opportunity to try quilting, weaving, cross-stitch and embroidery, and helped to prepare raw fleece provided by a local farmer. This highly engaging project allowed students to understand the importance of traditional skills, and to investigate how those skills have survived by both embracing modern technology and preserving historical methods.

By examining history through the lens of textile arts, students investigated the daily lives of early settlers, made comparisons between the past and the present, and gained an understanding of the role that material culture plays in transmitting knowledge and preserving history.