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Issue #26
January, 2012

Early childhood education programs for indigenous children in Canada, Australia and New Zealand: an historical review

Source: Larry Prochner, Principal Researcher

Summary: This article presents an outline history of the development of formal early childhood education programs for Aboriginal children in Canada with reference to experience in Australia and New Zealand. A review of selected developments in the colonial era that influenced the provision of early childhood education (ECE) is followed by a discussion of cross-national themes and current issues in the post-colonial period. While there is a growing literature on the history of formal early childhood education programs for European children, comparatively less attention has been paid to the history of programs for indigenous children. At the same time, the number and variety of early childhood programs in each of the three countries has increased over the past 20 years.

The aim of the article is to identify common and unique experiences in indigenous ECE in each country and, it is hoped, to raise questions worthy of further study. The article ends with a selective review of more recent initiatives.

Voices of Wisdom: Learning From Elders

Source: Ontario College of Teachers

Summary: In this 14-minute video, First Nations elders, an Inuit elder and a Métis senator share personal stories of tragedy, experience, wisdom and cultural identity. Their words underline the importance of understanding our Canadian history and the experiences First Nations, Inuit and Métis students bring to our classrooms. These stories will help educators enhance their professional knowledge and practice.

The College developed this resource to support the development of Additional Qualifications course guidelines.

INAC Publications Catalogue Canada

Source: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Summary: Welcome to the INAC publications catalogue. Publications are free of charge and can be ordered for delivery by regular mail, also at no charge. Please note that some publications are only available electronically, in either an HTML or PDF version, for immediate viewing or download. Please note that the Department reserves the right to limit the quantity of publications that can be ordered.

Traditional Aboriginal Careers – CSC

Source: Curriculum Services Canada (CSC)
Focus: Grades 9-12

Summary: Traditional Aboriginal Careers is a co-operative education course for skills and activities such as hunting, trapping, fishing, and guiding that reflect traditional First Nations careers. Sample co-operative placements will be described, as well as all necessary documentation, assessment, and evaluation.

Inuit Interactive Adventure

Source: The project represents a formal partnership between Acadia University, drumsong communications inc., the Houston North Gallery, the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth (CLEY) in the Government of Nunavut, as well as a long-term collaboration with Nunavummuit, those who call Nunavut home. Funding was provided by the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Partnerships Fund of the Canadian Culture Online program.

Summary: Explore the site to learn from Inuit of Nunavut who have lived on and cared for our land for 1000s of years.

Travel by ship via the interactive movie, with scenarios in which you will discover some of the beauty of the vast Territory of Nunavut, in the Eastern Arctic of Canada.

In the interactive movie, you will have roles and responsibilities to fulfill. When you successfully complete the challenges, including the computer games embedded in the video, you will have constructed your own virtual Inuksuk, a stone marker that shows how you have demonstrated your ability to see Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) can navigate your way forward in life.

Via the web site, you can explore the searchable databases of Inuit art, through which the digitized images of 100 carvings and 100 prints can be appreciated for their artistic merit, and which also offer insight into the deep respect Inuit have for Nature.

In another searchable database, you can watch and listen to Inuit Elders sharing the adventures of Kiviuq, a great hero and shaman in an Inuit teaching story that has been likened to Homer’s Odyssey.

The web site includes a wealth of other resources, from a set of 360 degree Virtual Reality (VR) photographic images from a range of sites, from the Legislative Assembly of the Government of Nunavut to the dwelling of the ancient Thule people on beautiful Malik Island .

The website is in both English and Inuktitut, so there are opportunities to learn more than you may know about this ancient language.

First Nations English Dialects: Implications for Supporting First Nations Children’s Development

Source: Early Childhood Development – Intercultural Partnerships, Jessica Ball & Barbara Bernhardt, Principal Investigators

Summary: Project Background

Research involving Indigenous peoples outside of Canada emphasizes the influences of Indigenous language learning and cultural aspects of language socialization on English

conversational style and dialect. Dialect learning and features of language mediated interaction using varieties of the dominant language have implications for education, developmental assessment, early intervention, cultural preservation and justice issues. There is an emerging awareness that the heritage languages, language socialization, and cultures of Aboriginal peoples living in Canada influence the ways in which Aboriginal children and families use English, as well as their experiences within dominant culture institutions such as schools. As a group, Aboriginal children and youth have not been as successful as they could be in the school system. This may be because of a lack of appreciation by preschool and school teachers for conversational styles, preferences, and expectations surrounding the use of English by Aboriginal children and youth.

Project Goal

This exploratory project has successfully stimulated broader interest within the fields of

linguistics and education in the nature of Aboriginal English dialects, and has begun to raise awareness of the need to appreciate the language skills that Aboriginal children may possess although they may be using a variant of English not familiar to members of the dominant culture. The project has contributed a comprehensive review of the extant literature on Aboriginal English dialects, and has formulated some general principles and specific strategies for future researchers to engage this topic through language sampling and analysis.

Aboriginal Education Strategy – EDU

Source: Ontario Ministry of Education
Focus: Elementary classrooms

Summary: Professionally developed teaching strategies, designed to help Ontario teachers bring Aboriginal perspectives into the classroom.

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