PHONE NUMBER: (416) 393-0555


Kapapamahchakwew - Wandering Spirit School's Mission Statement

In 1977, this school was founded on the vision of Pauline Shirt and Vern Harper who were looking for a safer school for their own child. They searched for a school that was culturally safe and nurtured their son’s Indigenous identity. But when a school couldn’t be found, they founded their own school known as Wandering Spirit Survival School, which was designated as an alternative school. In 1983, the school was recognized by the TDSB as a Cultural Survival/Native Way program instead of an alternative school. In 1989, the program was renamed First Nations School of Toronto (FNST). Then in 2018/19, the school returned to its original roots and after a renaming ceremony, and is now called Kapapamahchakwew - Wandering Spirit School.

Kindergarten at Kapapamahchakwew-Wandering Spirit School is child-centred and culturally relevant. It provides Indigenous children with an opportunity to learn about Anishinaabe cultural traditions in a nurturing, caring environment. Children learn within a circle of caring that includes family, caregivers, community and the children themselves. Students are engaged holistically while learning about the teachings and ways of Anishinaabe Peoples through a physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual play-based program that incorporates music, songs, games, stories and dances.

Program Enhancements

  • FNST Hockey Academy: This 8-week program is free of charge and a full set of equipment is provided.
  • McCarthy/Tetrault Mentoring program: In partnership with McCarthy/Tetrault LLB, Grade 9s work with an adult mentor in high school/university.
  • Connected North: In partnership with CISCO and TakingITGlobal, FNST students use two-way video and collaboration technology to connect with students in Northern communities.
  • goIT:Grade 8s engage in STEM activities using the EV3 LEGO robot and a coding program. In partnership with TATA Consultancy Services, goIT provides enhanced curriculum and STEM career info.

More Information About Kapapamahchakwew - Wandering Spirit School

Kindergarten at FNST

Our program is child-centered and culturally relevant. Children learn about the teachings and ways of Indigenous peoples through play-based programs that include music, songs, games, stories and dances of Anishinaabe culture. Registration Week is in the beginning of February. Contact us: 416.393.0230

Achieving Excellence through the Urban Indigenous

Along with the Aboriginal Education Centre (AEC), FNST is part of the Urban Indigenous Education Centre, which is committed to closing the opportunity gap for Aboriginal students across the district. Learn more about the Aboriginal Education Centre at

Supporting Aboriginal Voices Across the Curriculum

Students who attend FNST enjoy culturally-enriched programs that incorporate:

• Native Second Language programming

• access to traditional ceremonies

• traditional singing and drumming

• traditional dance and movement

• community feasts

Parent and Community Involvement

The FNST School Council plays a vital role and is elected each year. It provides advice on behalf of parents to the principal. The Aboriginal Community Advisory Committee is composed of First Nations, Métis, Inuit Elders and community members, and is an important forum for parent and community advocacy. Learn more at

Student Life - Where You Belong


Through the Nutrition Program the school offers daily a hot breakfast, morning and afternoon snack, and a hot lunch free to all students. This program has many positive effects for our students; academically, socially and emotionally. After breakfast, students bound into class full of positive energy, ready to learn.  On a daily basis students are greeted warmly by the caring Nutrition Coordinator who not only puts her heart into the role but also takes the time to listen to each student. The Coordinator regularly goes above and beyond to build trust and positive relationships by supporting each child holistically. Through the nutrition programme, students are being educated about healthy eating practices that are building skills which will last a lifetime.  With healthy meals served daily, students are able to focus their attention in class, show improved behaviour, and are better able to learn.  For students of grades seven and eight, with written parent permission, they are allowed to leave school property for their lunch.


Most Fridays, and on special occassions, the school comes together in a "Big Circle" during the final period of the afternoon to celebrate their community.  In the Big Circle, staff, students, and even parents sing songs, play drums and shakers, tell stories, and hear teachings about the values that are important to the school and to Aboriginal people.  Song is carried by our Sun Spirit Drummers, Little Thunder Drum, and our Handdrummers.
Various extra-curricular programming is available to all students such as, hip hop and traditional hoop dancing, beading club, Boys Club, talent show, leadership club and many athletic teams, clubs and intra-murals.


The Aboriginal Peacekeeper Unit of Metro Toronto Police Service provide safety presentations to various classes of the school. Native child and Family Services of Toronto occasionally provide in-class workshops or bring visiting elders to the school. They also co-lead the senior fieldtrip each year to Grundy Lake Provincial Park. First Nations School is continually strengthening and encouraging more parent involvement in school activities. Currently, the school has a School Advisory Council. The school also has parent volunteers who assist in classrooms, run fundraising activities, help on field trips, and volunteer in the school's cafeteria.