Activities for Orange Shirt Day

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This post is designed for homeschoolers who want to teach about Truth and Reconciliation Day aka Orange Shirt Day. However anyone can supplement what their child learns if you want to as well. Youth groups may find this helpful too.

This post is designed for homeschoolers who want to teach about Truth and Reconciliation Day aka Orange Shirt Day.

First if you are not familiar with Truth and Reconciliation Day please see the quote below or read more here. Please note this day is observed in Canada so if you’re not Canadian, you may not have heard of it.

“Each year, September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the children who never returned home and Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

Activities for Orange Shirt Day

This is an important day to commemorate in your homeschool if you are Canadian so please don’t skip it. Children as young as 5 at least are able to understand the simple ideas. There are lots of picture books that explain residential schools to children which I will list below. However a basic explanation could be as follows:

Disclaimer: This is a very simplified version suggested for ages 5-8. I don’t claim that this covers everything. Please read up on it yourself if you aren’t familiar with what happened. Add details based on the age and maturity of your child.

Not that long ago, Indigenous children were put into residential schools which is a school that you live at for most of the year. It was thought that it would be best for them to learn the ways of the Europeans who came to Canada. This includes speaking English instead of their language, learning Christianity instead of their religion and learning more about their culture instead of Indigenous culture. They were treated very poorly in many cases, with children being abused/hurt and dying. They also weren’t allowed to be Indigenous. Truth and Reconciliation Day is about sharing the TRUTH about what happened there and RECONCILIATION means trying to make up for it. This is why we learn about what happened and why it was wrong, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Picture Books I Recommend

*I’ve read all of these books. Some are about residential schools, some are just about Indigenous culture.

  • Phyllis’s Orange Shirt
  • Now Nivi Got Her Names
  • Stolen Words
  • When I Was Eight
  • Not My Girl
  • Fatty Legs


Twinkl has a lot of cool resources. In general some are free, most are premium. However most if not all the Orange Shirt Day resources are free. Also if you signup for their newsletter they allow you to download a premium resource for free 1-2 times a month. It’s not expensive to signup either.

The Orange Shirt Day website has free teacher resources as well.

Orange Shirt Day Pledge

Reading Comprehension

Every Child Matters – I Matter Because…

Other Ideas

For Adult Education

To learn more yourself I highly recommend Braided Learning.

If you have any ideas to share, please do.

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