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Canadore College Develops First Nations Early Childhood Education Program

Aug 16, 2016

Young woman reading a story to children

(NORTH BAY, ONT.) – Canadore College recently received funding approval to deliver a unique First Nations culturally-infused early childhood education program.

The two-year Early Childhood Education – Anishinaabemowin diploma program has been approved for delivery at Canadore’s partner institutions, Kenjegwen-Teg Education Institute (KTEI) in M'Chigeeng First Nation, Ont. and Seven Generations Education Institute in Fort Frances, Ont.

The program was developed in collaboration between the partners to address critically declining rates of Anishinabemowin speakers in Anishinabe communities.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada also recognizes the critical state of Indigenous languages in the Calls to Action report released last year.

“Language is a cornerstone to our identity, infused with our cultural traditions and a foundation to our very well-being,” said Mary Wabano, Associate Dean of the School of Indigenous Studies. “We truly teach our children our value system and lessons through our language and not merely translating from English to Anishinabemowin, for example, ‘Gichi ayaa’aa’, which we take to mean ‘elder’ literally describes a ‘great being’. ‘Akiwenzi’ is known as ‘old man’ in modern times, but describes our responsibility as ‘caretakers of the earth’ and ‘Mindimooyenh’ translated into English is simply ‘old woman’ but references ‘the one that holds it all together’ in Anishinabemowin and in these roles we find balance. So it is not merely a language in which to communicate but is in essence a reflection of our worldview”.

This unique program is designed to prepare proficient Ojibwe language speakers for employment as early childhood educators in an Ojibwe immersion setting. This educational pathway will help individual communities to develop confident youth based on their own strengths and empower their people to be responsive to changing needs.

“Bringing back and acknowledging our ways of learning and knowing within our education systems, and most importantly, teaching our children in our own language, Anishinabemowin, is putting into action what our Elders have told us to do for so many years”, says Stephanie Roy, executive director of the Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute.

The program was officially approved by the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (formerly known as the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities) earlier this month. The first cohort is expected to be delivered at partner sites in Fall 2016.

Canadore trains people through applied learning, leadership and innovation. It provides access to over 65 full-time quality programs and has outstanding faculty and student services. The College and its students add nearly $290 million to the regions of Nipissing and Parry Sound. Approximately 1,000 students graduate from Canadore each year, and they join 43,000 alumni working across the globe.

#Health, Human, Wellness #Indigenous #Indigenous Studies