By Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – On March 4, 2021 Employment and Social Development Canada (ESD) released a call for proposals from First Nations (on and off reserve), Inuit, and Métis peoples, governments and organizations. The funding is meant to support new approaches to Indigenous governance, coordination and delivery of culturally appropriate early learning and child care.
The ultimate goal is to improve early learning and child care services available to Indigenous communities.
“For many, child care is a necessity. For Indigenous children, culturally appropriate early learning and child care can be a crucial part of childhood development. That is why the Government of Canada is committed to promoting and investing in Indigenous-led early learning and child care to ensure all First Nations, Inuit and Métis children have the foundation they need to succeed in life,” said ESD.
The Government of Canada is providing $9.25 million over two years in available funding, starting in 2021–22, for research and innovation projects through this call for proposals.
Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller said, “Culturally-relevant early learning and child care programs play a critical role in creating connections for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and families, to their communities, cultures and languages.”
“Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to ensuring every Indigenous child grows up immersed in their culture and ready to reach their full potential,” the minister concluded.
Priority areas were identified through engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners. Based on their feedback, proposals should focus on the following key themes:
- development of a vision or framework for a high-quality, culturally appropriate early learning and child care system;
- activities to build and strengthen local child care licensing rules and procedures;
- actions to support ongoing education and training for early learning and child care leaders, management and staff; and
- new tools, curriculum or training to support staff working with children with special needs.
Applications are accepted until April 14.