From Seed to Cedar: A Campaign Supporting Aboriginal ECD and Care



The AECDC Seed to Cedar website is designed to increase awareness of AECDC programs.

AECDC states, “Mapping research done by BCACCS in 2011 indicates 48 out of 203 BC First Nations (a full 25%) are not able to provide early learning, child care or other supports for young children and their families due to the lack of new federal ECD investments since 2002. A review of Canadian early childcare programs completed in 2003 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Directorate for Education found that an "estimated 90 percent of Aboriginal children in Canada do not have access to regulated infant development or early childhood programs with any Aboriginal component. We need to call for more stable funding for AECDC programs and increased access to the most vulnerable children in remote communities.”

Links are provided to:

  • The BC First Nations Early Childhood Development Framework (2011) which states three major goals:
    • Increased availability, accessibility and participation in ECD programs
    • Enhanced quality of ECD programs
    • Improved integration and collaboration at all levels
  • Creating Pathways – An Aboriginal Early Years Five Year Strategic Plan (2009) which has as its goals and principles:
    • Foster Aboriginal child and family Wellness
    • Build capacity with Aboriginal families, communities and organizations
    • Ensure Aboriginal worldviews, culture and languages are integral in all programs and activities
    • Ensure all programs and services are culturally safe, accessible and integrated
    • Principle 1: Children are at the centre of all circles
    • Principle 2: Family is inclusive and reflective of all Aboriginal family structures. Family members are healthy, strong and fully engaged in the delivery of early years programs and services for their children and community.
    • Principle 3: Community driven programs will build capacity of families, staff and community members; while always respecting locala cultural protocols, and the uniqueness of each child, family and community.
    • Principle 4: Aboriginal worldviews, culture and language are at the heart of all programs and services available for Aboriginal children and families.
  • Getting the Facts Right on Pre-K and President’s Pre-K Proposal, a National Institute for Early Education Research document that addresses a number of questions:
    • Do the effects of high-quality preschool programs persist or fade out by third grade? “The bottom line: pre-K does produce substantial long-term gains, particularly when programs are properly designed.”
    • What about the President’s statement that “Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on.” “When the economic analysis was updated based on more recent follow-up data, the estimated rate of return for these Chicago preschools rose to about $11 to $1.”
    • Does high-quality pre-K benefit most children or only disadvantaged children, and which is more effective, targeted or universal pre-K? “One of the studies most relevant to the debate regarding the effects of universal pre-K is a randomized trial of preschool education in which all of the children were relatively advantaged. It found that positive effects on achievement continued into the school years with very large effects for boys, in particular, in the second and third grade.”
    • Can large-scale public programs produe substantive long-term gains for children, and how effective are current programs including Head Start? “When all the evidence is considered it is found that large-scale public programs have produced meaningful long-term gains for children and not just disadvantaged children. Large gains depend on high-quality pre-K. Such programs can produce high rates of return to public investment.”
  • Hook and Hub: Coordinating Programs to Support Indigenous Children’s Early Learning and Development. (Jessica Ball, 2005) “shares stories about some First Nationsi communities in Canada who have used a ‘hook and hub’ model that is informed by cultural knowledge, and is community-based and community-paced….. Promising innovations by these First Nations, as well as by some Aboriginal Head Start programs, are demonstrating the potential of Early Childhood Care and Development centres to serve as hubs for a range of programs and services that promote wellness, social cohesions, and cultural continuity, and that prevent malnutrition, childhood injuries, exposure to unsafe environments, and apprehensions of children into protective custody. These examples suggest a reconceptualization of early childhood care and development initiatives as population health initiatives.”
  • Healthy Children, Healthy Nations is a HELP 15 by 15 research brief by the Aboriginal Steering Committee on family policy, cultural vitality and economic growth and which makes the following recommendations
    • Build on maternity and parental leave to enrich the benefit value, and to extend the total duration from 12 to 18 months, reserving additional months for fathers in common law and marriage relationships with birth mothers. Ensuring equitable access to benefits among low-income families is a priority.
    • Build on existing employment standards to support mothers and fathers with children over 18 months to work full– time for pay, but redefine full– time to accommodate shorter annual working hours without adding gender inequalities in the labour market.
    • Build on income support policies to reduce poverty among families with children.
    • Build on pregnancy, health and parenting supports to ensure monthly developmental monitoring opportunities for children from birth through age
18 months, as their parents are on
leave. Ensure that the developmental monitoring is respectful of, and responsive to, minority cultural priorities, values and traditions.
    • Build on early education and care services to provide a seamless transition for families as the parental leave period ends in order make quality services for children age 19 months to kindergarten affordable and available on a full-or part-time basis, as parents choose. Such services must explicitly counter the legacy of the Residential Schools by integrating local First Nations and Métis values, traditions, knowledge and caregivers.
    • Build on the work of local ECD coalitions in community planning to enhance program coordination between all local services that support families with children from birth to age six. Ensure local ECD coalitions are led, meaningfully engaged with, and/or adequately represented by local Aboriginal stakeholder groups.
  • Training and Retention in the First Nations ECE Sector: A Report from the Frontlines (2012) which recommended that the council convene key stakeholders at all levels of ECD to collaborate on:
    • developing a strategic training plan to increase the number of qualified workers
    • exploring the costs and benefits of implementing a living wage standard for First Nations ECE employees
    • adapting existing human resource management “best practices” tool kit to provide guidelines and standards for 
First Nations licensed child care and Head Start employers
    • exploring minimum standards for the “Aboriginal Perspective” designation given to ECE training institutions
    • revising basic ECE training so that it includes instruction on working with exceptional children and on human 
resource management
    • securing government funding that supports regional training opportunities for First Nations ECE staff
  • The BC Aboriginal ChildCare Society (BCACCS), which has a number of publicaations available on its website.
  • The Human Early Learning Project (HELP) website
  • The National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health website. NCCAH is a national Aboriginal organization funded by PHAC to support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis public health renewal and health equity through knowledge translation and exchange. The NCCAH is hosted by the University of Northern BC (UNBC) in Prince George, BC

From Seed to Cedar resources.