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Category: Early Childhood

Encouraging Aboriginal Cultural Identity at Home and in Child Care

Source: CCCF FCSGE (Community of Early Childhood Educators)

Focus: Families and Child Care Practitioners

Summary: In many ways, quality early learning and child care programs for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children are similar to any program. For example, they must offer safe and nurturing care by qualified practitioners, and encourage opportunities to learn and develop skills. In other ways, however, quality child care programs for Indigenous children are different.

Unlike mainstream programs, programs designed specifically for Indigenous children play a key role in supporting children to develop their cultural identity – an important aspect of social well-being. They encourage learning about culture and language and work to instill a sense of pride and belonging. Mainstream programs too, however, with a little work, produce the same positive results.

BCACCS Resource Centre

Source: BC Aboriginal Child Care Society (BCACCS)

Summary: The BCACCS Resource Centre’s collection is focused on materials with Indigenous content and promotes learning and information sharing among parents, child care students and professionals, educators, academics, researchers, policymakers and anyone interested in Indigenous early learning and child care.

You can search by keyword, browse our curriculum boxes, our library or by topic area.

Creation Stories: Creating Strong Families through our Stories

Source: Indigenous Education: The National Centre for Collaboration

Focus: Early Childhood

Summary: Creation Storiesis a community-based research project that focuses on personal interviews with Elders and Knowledge Keepers who share their life experience stories to help expectant and new parents/guardians pass on positive teachings to their children. Parents/guardians can create their own stories to add to these teachings.

This lesson plan is based on an actual project that took place in Prince Edward Island, the goal of which was the creation of a handbook that provides insights and inspiration for new and expectant parents/guardians to “ . . . ground yourself in your creation story, to take control of your story, so you can reframe your life, beliefs, and practices to create the best story for your family” (p. vii, Creation Stories: Creating Strong Families through Our Stories).

This lesson plan outlines an approach to this community-based research project and can be delivered as a multi-session program. This project can be led by organization members and/or educators, or by university and/or college students to use as a community-based research project.

Early Childhood Education Report 2020: The Federal Role


The federal government has a direct role in funding early childhood programs for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children, for military personnel, federal prisoners and refugees and immigrants to Canada.

The Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework agreement was signed in June 2017 between the federal government and the provinces and territories. A 10-year investment strategy was outlined in Budget 2017, with $500 million growing slowly over the first 3 year phase. Although federal funding was small it did spurn interest with all jurisdictions adding their own revenue to boost child care spending.

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.

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