Employment & Social Development Canada: Invitation to Host your own Discussion on the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework

Photo Credit: Unsplash User  Kelley Bozarth

Photo Credit: Unsplash User Kelley Bozarth

The Host your own Discussion on the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework toolkit has been created to help groups host their own discussion as part of the process of developing the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Framework. 

The toolkit includes materials to help plan discussions, along with a template to help gather and submit the results.  The creators of the toolkit hope that the materials will encourage groups to send their results to NC-IELCC-ACJEA-GD@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca for inclusion in the development process for the ELCC Framework.  Groups have a choice of whether or not they consent to their submission being posted publicly but, either way, the submissions will still be considered in the development process for the ELCC Framework.

The Framework defines early learning as including a range of activities designed to support child development and learning for children aged 0-6, taking place in the home, in a pre-school or nursery school, or in a child care or day care setting (day-care centre/babysitter/other provider).

The toolkit supports discussion and response to the Government of Canada’s development process for an Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Framework to guide future federal investments and programming. 

The toolkit asks the question, “Why focus on early learning and child care?” and states, “The early years of a person’s life are the most critical for brain development, as the most significant brain growth occurs during this time.  A child’s experiences within these years are crucial, as they have a great impact on an individual’s identity and overall health and well-being throughout their lifetime.  Early childhood is also the best time for children to learn language, as they absorb information faster than in any other stage of life.  Finally, the early years are an important stage of life in terms of culture and identity for Indigenous children; the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples described early childhood as the foundation on which identity, self-worth, intellect and strengths are built.”

The creators of the Framework “want to hear from parents, family members, communities, early childhood educators, youth, Elders, experts and leaders about your vision for early learning and child care for Indigenous children and families so that we can build on what is working and improve for the future….  A broad range of voices will be sought to:

  • Identify strengths, challenges and opportunities through engagement and discussion
  • Discuss communities’ needs and priorities
  • Develop meaningful principles and goals for the Framework
  • Establish priorities for sustained action in the short, medium and long-term”

The discussion is also intended to look at three existing federal Indigenous early learning and child care programs – Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve (AHSOR), administered by Health Canada; Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC), administered by the Public Health Agency of Canada; and First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative (FNICCI), administered by Employment and Social Development Canada – “to better understand what is working well and what could be improved….Views on how these programs can better work together to support improved health, education and wellness of Indigenous children and families are also welcomed as part of this engagement.”

The feedback will be used to inform the development of an Indigenous ELCC Framework to meet the needs of Indigenous children and families.

The Discussion questions of the toolkit centre around four themes:

Theme 1:  Early Learning and Child Care Needs

Theme 2:  Successes and Promising Practices

Theme 3:  Current Federal Programs – Strengths, Benefits and Areas for Improvement

Theme 4:  Planning for the Future of Early Learning and Child Care

A template is provided for submitting responses.  You can fill out the response guide or use another format that works for you. Responses can be sent to NC-IELCC-AGJEA-GD@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca  or by mail to:

Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Secretariat
Social Policy Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV
3rd floor, Mailstop 305
Gatineau QC K1A 0J9

Useful tips include:

  • All questions are optional. If you wish, you can tailor the questions to respond to your unique circumstances, add your own questions, or remove others.
  • Provide summaries of the discussion points rather than a word-for-word account.
  • Do not identify comments by contributors (i.e. names or organizations) – instead summarize the feedback from the group as a whole.
  • Make sure participants are aware that by participating they are consenting to, and acknowledging that they have read, understood and agreed to the Privacy Notice Statement, except that your submission will not be published unless you consent.