Source: Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)
Summary: This paper examines the issues surrounding Inuit Early Childhood Education (ECE), specifically:
- Identifying and documenting examples of successful Inuit early childhood initiatives, which have contributed to the ability of Inuit children overcoming barriers and succeeding in school.
- Identifying gaps in Inuit ECE programming.
- Recommending a list of policy considerations related to Inuit Early Childhood Education and Care (IECEC).
The paper cites a number of international trends in early childhood education and care, which could provide policy considerations for Inuit in ECEC programming.
A number of the national and international trends in ECEC programming can be seen in their early form of application across a range of success stories in the four Inuit regions. The paper looks in detail at: 1) language nests in Nunatsiavut, 2) trained staff, 3) provincial/regional funding arrangements in Nunavik, 4) Nunavik nutrition program, 5) school readiness programming in Clyde River, 6) culturally grounded services in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, and 7) the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre.
The paper also examines persistent gaps in programming including fragmented and inadequate funding mechanisms, which has hindered the development of childcare in some regions. Low salaries and poor educational standards for Early Childhood Educators has also impacted quality, particularly where there are no regulations to establish minimum training requirements for early childhood educators. The paper examines two other important gaps relating to parental involvement in program design and cultural/linguistic accessibility.
The document concludes with a set of policy considerations that fall into six main areas:
- Integrated funding
- Recognizing the Early Childhood teacher
- Integrating Elder input and participation in all aspects of Inuit ECEC
- Accessing the voice and direction of Parents, Elders, and Educators in all aspects of ECE
- Integrated Services at ECE hubs
- Development of an ECE Curriculum, supports and resources