Teacher’s Guide


This guide has been developed for teachers to use as a classroom resource in relation to Quilt of Belonging and its timeless message, “A Place for All”. It focuses on the themes of belonging, inclusion, acceptance, diversity, First Peoples of Canada, multiculturalism, community, world culture, and Character Always.


Quilt of Belonging is a collaborative textile art project on a national scale that is a lasting testimony to Canada’s heritage and identity. The Quilt’s 263 blocks represent all Canada’s main aboriginal groups and every world nation, as all are part of our social fabric.

Each of these 263 groups was invited to produce a piece of fibre art, with the textiles, techniques and symbols that represent its cultural beauty.  Styles and materials vary widely, from gold embroidered silk to tapa cloth, from miniature carpets to bobbin lace, to beaded caribou hides, yet each finds its place in the overall design— there is “A Place for All”. Together they record human history in textile, illustrating the beauty, complexity and sheer size of the human story.

The resulting tapestry is 10 feet (3.5 metres) high and 120 feet (36 metres) long. This immense artwork is travelling across Canada and beyond and it is creating an impact nationally and around the world. The project began in 1998 with the vision of Ontario artist Esther Bryan. Unique in its comprehensiveness and scope, Bryan says “The Quilt reveals a jewelled spectrum of humanity, a horizontal mosaic where each hue is rich, each fabric, design and tradition unique – a framework within which each person can express his or her own story. It reflects our past history while portraying hope and the limitless possibilities of the future”.


Every person needs to know that they are valued and belong no matter who they are.  The Quilt is an invitation to participate in a shared project and to have every student experience a sense of belonging.


Quilt of Belonging can be used as a resource for reaching objectives in the Ontario School Curricula.

For Kindergarten and Grades 1- 6

The on-line Quilt activities for your students are intended to be creative, fun and inclusive. They cover some of the most important curricula objectives in Language, Art, and Social Studies


Social Studies (Overall expectations)

  • demonstrate a sense of identity and positive self-image.
  • demonstrate a beginning understanding of the diversity in individuals, families, schools, and the wider community.
  • identify and use social skills in play and other contexts.
  • demonstrate an awareness of their surroundings.


  • reading and understanding skills.

The Arts

  • engaging in activities in visual arts, music, drama and dance.
  • exposure to the arts and activities in the arts of different cultures.
  • communicate their ideas through various art forms.


Social Studies (1-6)

Will help students towards understanding:

  • responsible citizenship.
  • diversity within local, national, and global communities, both past and present.
  • interrelationships between the nature and humans.
  • foster curiosity and the skills to investigate world developments, events, and issues.

The Arts (Grades 1-6)

To help students to:

  • develop creativity
  • communicate by manipulating elements and forms to convey or express thoughts, feelings, messages, or ideas through the arts. Constructing and analyzing art works.
  • understand cultural traditions and innovations, developing a sense of self and sense of the relationship between the self and other locally, nationally, and globally.
  • make connections between the cognitive and affective domains (expressing thoughts and feelings when creating and responding to art works), working collaboratively and connecting the arts and other subjects.

Grades 1 – 3

Help children to understand that people all over the world create and enjoy art.

Grades 4 – 6

Help students explore how relationships and personal experience is expressed in art. They can explore the significance of art in present cultures and examine the content in which they were made, viewed and valued.

For Grades 7 & 8

The activities for your students are intended to include every child, foster creativity. They should be fun. They will cover some of the most important curricula objectives in Art, Geography, and History.

The Arts

Help students to:

  • understand cultural traditions and innovations.
  • construct personal and cultural identity (developing a sense of self and a sense of the relationship between the self and others locally, nationally, and globally).
  • make a commitment to social justice and dealing with environmental issues.
  • collaborate to create works with others, and performing in ensembles.
  • make connections between the arts and other subjects.
  • investigate art practices of a variety of cultures and styles.
  • understand how artists reflect issues relevant to their lives and societies.
  • realize there are multiple artistic solutions and interpretations.


To help students towards understanding:

  • societies, developments, and events and interpreting and analyzing historical, as well as current, issues.
  • how people from diverse groups have interacted and how they have changed over time.
  • what other cultures contribute to society and to the world .
  • experiences of and empathizing with people in different societies.
  • how to analyze and interpret evidence from primary and secondary resources.


To help students towards understanding:

  • communities on a local and global scale.
  • the connections within and between natural and human environments and communities.
  • various types of maps, globes, and graphs.
  • an appreciation and respect of both natural and human environments and communities.
  • how the physical geography of a place impacts the history and development of its inhabitants.


For Grades 9-12

The activities for your students are intended to be creative, fun and engaging, to explore current issues and foster the individual sense of worth of each student. They will cover some of the most important curricula objectives in Art, Canadian and World Studies, Native Studies, and Social Sciences and Humanities.

The Arts

To help students understand how the knowledge and skills acquired through the study of the curriculum relate to life beyond school, including:

  • Developing aesthetic awareness.
  • Using the creative process.
  • Manipulating elements and forms to convey or express thoughts, feelings, messages, or ideas through the arts.
  • Constructing and analyzing art works, with a focus on analyzing and communicating the meaning of the work.
  • Understanding cultural traditions and innovations.
  • Constructing personal and cultural identity (locally, nationally, and globally).
  • Making a commitment to equity and social justice.
  • Expressing thoughts and feelings when creating and responding to artworks.
  • Creating and interpreting artworks on their own and with others.
  • Making connections between the arts and other disciplines.

Canadian and World Studies

To help students understand how human and natural process and components connect with, adapt to, and have an impact on one another including:

  • Trade/exchanges
  • Globalization
  • Community
  • Relationship

Help students understand how culture provides a conceptual framework for interpreting the world, including:

  • Spirituality/religion
  • Ideology
  • Economic, political, and legal systems
  • Communication and language
  • Familial and community structures
  • Education
  • Migration
  • Diversity

Native Studies

To help students increase their awareness and understanding of the history, cultures, world views, and contributions of Aboriginal peoples in Canada and to realize that the exploration of the development and contributions of Aboriginal societies is central to an understanding of the social fabric of this country.

  • Identity- Identity is a concept based on the question, who am I? The investigation of identity is a personal journey of discovery and realization, Historical events, such as the Indian Act, have made the issue of identity a particular concern to Aboriginal peoples and al Canadians.
  • Relationships- This strand serves as a focus for exploring ties that Aboriginal peoples have developed and maintained with the land and its life-sustaining resources and the personal connections they have made spiritually and culturally with their world.
  • Sovereignty- In the traditional governments of Aboriginal peoples sovereignty is based on a spiritual understanding that the Creator gives human beings the responsibility for governing themselves and taking care of the natural environment.
  • Methods of Historical Inquiry– Investigate and analyze historical topics and issues related to Aboriginal peoples.

Social Sciences and Humanities Curriculum (Grades 9 – 12)

To help students

  • Enhance their self-understanding and understanding of others through studying personal belief systems, different viewpoints and lived experiences of others.
  • Develop an understanding of their own and other world views.