Educational Resources

Search Resources:
Browse Resource Categories:

Category: Early Childhood

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.

OJIIBIKENS EARLYON PROGRAM

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.

Diverse family characteristics of Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4

Source: Statistics Canada

Summary: Highlights:

  • About 6 in 10 Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4 lived in a family with two parents. This was the case for 53.7% of First Nations, 71.8% of Métis, and 68.8% of Inuit children in this age group.
  • More than one‑third of Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4 lived with a lone parent. This was the case for 38.9% of First Nations, 25.5% of Métis, and 26.5% of Inuit children in this age group.
  • About 1 in 6 Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4 shared a household with at least one grandparent. This was the case for 21.2% of First Nations, 10.5% of Métis, and 22.8% of Inuit children.
  • Aboriginal children accounted for 7.7% of all children aged 0 to 4 and about one‑half of all foster children in this age group.

Diverse Family Characteristics of Aboriginal Children 0-4

Source: Statistics Canada

Highlights:

  • About 6 in 10 Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4 lived in a family with two parents. This was the case for 53.7% of First Nations, 71.8% of Métis and 68.8% of Inuit children in this age group.
  • More than one‑third of Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4 lived with a lone parent. This was the case for 38.9% of First Nations, 25.5% of Métis and 26.5% of Inuit children in this age group.
  • About 1 in 6 Aboriginal children aged 0 to 4 shared a household with at least one grandparent. This was the case for 21.2% of First Nations, 10.5% of Métis and 22.8% of Inuit children.
  • Aboriginal children accounted for 7.7% of all children aged 0 to 4, and about one‑half of all foster children in this age group.

Stepping Stones to School: Aboriginal Head Start to Kindergarten Transition Toolkit

Source: Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC. Editor: Annie Jack

Summary:  The start of kindergarten can be both an exciting and worrisome time for children and families as they step into new worlds, new beginnings. For Aboriginal children and families, the transition to kindergarten can be experienced much differently from their non-Aboriginal counterparts. This is in large part due to the lengthy history of oppression and marginalization that Aboriginal people have experienced in their relationship to formal schooling systems. Yet, early learning programs that respond to the social and historical realities of Aboriginal families offer the potential and promise to connect them with schools in positive ways.

The Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia, representing 12 Aboriginal Head Start (AHS) sites in urban and northern communities in BC, is committed to supporting the early childhood development of Aboriginal children. The preschool program instills pride in their Aboriginal heritage and focuses on children 3 to 5 years of age, with the intent of bringing them to the school readiness stage in order to ensure an easy transition in to kindergarten. Family involvement is a major factor contributing to the success of the program. Aboriginal Head Start represents one of the important ‘stepping stones’ that will lead families on their continuing journey with learning.

Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework

Source: Employment and Social Development 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. For the purposes of this Framework, Indigenous ELCC includes a wide range of programs and activities designed to support children aged 0 to 6 in their development, learning and cultural identity. Indigenous ELCC programs and activities aim to support culturally-based language, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical development in the home, in a preschool or nursery school, or in a home child care or daycare setting.

Sign up to receive monthly PPW Educational Resource outreach: