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Category: Early Childhood

kâ-nâkatohkêhk miyo-ohpikinawâwasowin (Making oneself aware of good child growing and raising).  Applying an Indigenous worldview to prevention and early intervention strategies

Source: Journal of Indigenous Social Development [Volume 11, Issue 1 (2022)]

Summary: Given their  complicity  with  the  settler colonial  agenda,  governments  and  service providing agencies  must  do  more  than  acknowledge  the  harm  inflicted  upon  Indigenous  families  and communities. These organizations must intentionally engage in meaningful change by learning how to  provide  services  that  prevent  further  harm  and  authentically  support  Indigenous  wellness perspectives and healing practices. It is in this spirit and in support of these aims that the resource, kâ-nâkatohkêhk miyo-ohpikinawâwasowin (Making oneself aware of good child growing/raising), was created. Recognizing the inadequacy of Western concepts, beliefs, and values to effectively evaluate the impact of Indigenous designed services, this resource is based on nehiyaw (Cree) perspectives and teachings and encompasses ceremony, language, values, and beliefs that support the resiliency and healthy development of Indigenous children and families.

This article describes the context of kâ-nâkatohkêhk miyo-ohpikinawâwasowin’s creation, provides a summary of the framework, and highlights its current and potential impacts for program policy and evaluation, as well as for program funders.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous early learning and child care workers in Canada

Source: Kristyn Frank is with the Centre for Indigenous Statistics and Partnerships, Social Data Insights, Integration and Innovation Brach and Rubab Arim is with the Social Analysis and Modelling Division, Analytical Studies and Modelling Branch, at Statistics Canada.

Summary: This study examines the sociodemographic and employment characteristics of early learning and child care (ELCC) workers who are First Nations people, Métis or Inuit. Data from the 2016 Census long-form questionnaire were used to study two occupational groups—early childhood educators and assistants (ECEAs) and child care providers (CCPs). Comparisons were also made with non-Indigenous ELCC workers in the same occupational groups. The study finds that First Nations, Métis and Inuit ECEAs and CCPs were more likely to be younger than their non-Indigenous counterparts. Additionally, a higher proportion of First Nations ECEAs and CCPs were men than among non-Indigenous ECEAs and CCPs. Both First Nations and Inuit ECEAs and CCPs were less likely to work full-time hours compared with non-Indigenous ECEAs and CCPs. Differences were also observed across industry sectors.

Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework

Source: Government of Canada

Summary: Children hold a sacred place in the cultures of Indigenous peoples. With that comes a sacred responsibility to care for them. High-quality, culturally-specific and well-supported early learning and child care (ELCC) programs, services and supports that are specifically designed for and with Indigenous families and communities will make a genuine difference in the early experiences of children. This, in turn, will support children’s long-term development and life outcomes. High-quality Indigenous ELCC programming empowers young children with a strong sense of identity. It provides educational opportunities and school readiness and contributes to their overall health and wellness from early years into adulthood.

ELCC programs can holistically support parents and families to participate in their cultures and languages. Programs provide access to information and resources, connections to community, alignment to unique health, education and social needs, and child care for children while parents participate in traditional lifestyles, work, training, education and other facets of their lives.

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.

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