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Category: Early Childhood

Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework

Source: Government of Canada

Summary: The Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework represents the Government of Canada and Indigenous Peoples’ work to co-develop a transformative Indigenous framework that reflects the unique cultures, aspirations, and needs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children across Canada.

The Framework sets out a shared vision, principles, and a path forward for Indigenous early learning and child care – a Canada where all Indigenous children have the opportunity to experience high-quality, culturally rooted early learning and child care programming.

The Early Years – Martin Family Initiative

Source: MFI

Focus: Parents, early childhood educators

Summary: Indigenous families and their communities are the best place to support the healthy development of their children and to encourage overall well-being and cultural identity.  

Canada has a long history of policies and legislation that have deeply impacted the health and happiness of Indigenous children, families and communities. As a result of the legacy of colonization and the historic underfunding of essential services, Indigenous communities continue to grapple with a number is social inequities.  Despite the efforts made by Indigenous communities to soar above the consequences of these systemic hurdles, too many still persist.

They have led to substantially poorer health and educational outcomes, substandard housing, high unemployment and large numbers of children in child welfare care. In fact, there are more Indigenous children in foster care today than in the residential school system at the height of its operation.

To break this pattern, Indigenous communities and families must have direct control over their own services.

Keep Learning

Source: British Columbia – Open School BC

Focus: Parents and Caregivers

Summary: Suggestions for parents and caregivers to support their child’s learning.

Quick, easy, everyday learning activities for children of all ages to do. Many can be done individually but often are more fun to do with a sibling or other family members.

Food is our Medicine

Source: Nourish: The future of food in health care

Summary: Food is Our Medicine is designed to introduce health care professionals and leaders to new and different ways of understanding the complex relationships between Indigenous foodways, reconciliation, healing and health care. This Action Learning series includes a Learning Journey online course, webinar series, and a digital resource library.

Enhancing Aboriginal Child Wellness: The Potential of Early Learning Programs

Source: Jane P. Preston, University of Saskatchewan

Summary: The attention given to Aboriginal early childcare has grown over the past decade. This recent interest is in contrast to the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s when the federal government paid relatively little attention to Aboriginal early learning programs. In the 1960s and 1970s, early childhood development programs and services for Aboriginal peoples were virtually nonexistent (National Indian Brotherhood & Assembly of First Nations, 1989). The programs that did exist experienced inadequate and/or sporadic funding and were often short-lived (Greenwood, 2000a). By the 1980s, Aboriginal Peoples began to articulate a need for early childhood programs, but it was not until the mid-1990s that the need for Aboriginal early learning programs was addressed more seriously by government leaders (Ball, 2005; Greenwood, 2000a). Friendly and Beach (2005) expressed the necessity of such programs by stating that, “All Aboriginal groups have larger than average child populations, making early childhood education and care an especially important First Nations Perspectives 1, 1 (2008): 98-120 Enhancing Aboriginal Child Wellness 99 issue” (p. xxiii). Statistics Canada (2006) also supported the necessity of Aboriginal early learning programs when indicating the fertility rate among Aboriginal women was 2.6 children per woman, as compared to a rate of 1.5 children among non-Aboriginal women.

Founded in Culture: Strategies to Promote Early Learning among First Nations Children in Ontario

Source: Best Start

Summary: The purpose of this First Nations early learning report is to:

  • review early learning policy and research that has been done with First Nations children (from birth to age 6) living in Ontario; and
  • identify strategies to support early learning for service providers who work with First Nations parents/caregivers.

The review involved a scan of relevant literature and interviews with key informants. Early learning is important because it forms the foundation for lifelong learning. Taking part in early learning programs has been shown to positively influence school success.


Source: Ojibikens Indigenous Cultural Network

Summary: There are ninety EarlyON centres in Toronto that provide a welcoming drop-in environment. Parents and caregivers and children access services and programming together and can:

•          join fun activities – reading, storytelling, sing-alongs, games and more

•          get advice from professionals trained in early childhood development

•          find out about other family services in the community

•          connect with other families with young children

Ojiibikens means ‘little root.’  Ojiibikens is a land-based EarlyON program for children ages 0-6, and their siblings, parents and caregivers.  Our mobile team provides Indigenous land-based programs in partnership with EarlyON centres and community organizations across Toronto.  We are creating hands-on, outdoor learning environments for children that integrates language, culture, food, and physical activity.  The core of land base education is about families being on and connecting with the land.  Our activities will reclaim and rebuild land-based skills of growing, harvesting to preparing our Indigenous foods and traditional medicines.

Calmer Classrooms: Working with Traumatized Children

Source: Child Safety Commissioner, Australia

Summary: This booklet assists Kindergarten, primary, and secondary teachers, and other school personnel in understanding and working with children and young people whose lives have been affected by trauma. The majority of such children will have come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect, although some of them will have suffered as refugees, or experienced war or dislocation overseas. An even smaller number will have experienced illness, painful medical interventions or one-off traumas such as disasters or accidents. Calmer Classrooms particularly addresses the needs of children who have been traumatized by abuse and neglect. These children may be involved in the child protection and family support systems. Some may not be able to remain in the care of their families and are living in foster care or other forms of state care.

Guidance for Child Care Facilities

Source: Saskatchewan Government – Health

Summary:As of August 4, 2020, all child care services as defined in The Child Care Act, 2014, are limited to a maximum of 25 children per building space. This may mean 25 children per facility or, in the case of larger facilities where area permits, a facility reconfigured to allow a maximum of 25 children in one defined area. These areas must be separate for each group and need to be separated by a barrier (floor to ceiling barriers not necessary) that can prevent children, toys and other items from crossing over. The child-to-adult ratios and usable floor space requirements for the child care areas must align with the Child Care Guidelines for Care and The Child Care Regulations, 2015. 

Groups of children and the staff members assigned to them must stay together throughout the day and cannot mix with other groups. Staff should remain with the same group. Groups must be within in the same room/space at the same time, including pickups and drop-offs, meal times, playtime and outdoor activities.

Children are restricted to attending a single facility to reduce transmission risks. All child care facilities located within special care or personal care homes are subject to all general restrictions and must have private entrances and separate spaces so there are no shared common areas. There must be no interaction between children and residents of the home.

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