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APPROACH

Supporting Indigenous-led
childhood
development

The Early Years’ unique, flexible program model recognizes that each Indigenous community has its own history, demographics, geography, and culture. Taking a collaborative approach, the program supports each community in building and enhancing services that best meet the needs of its children, youth, and families.

Guiding
Principles

Communities are
 not one size fits all

The Early Years places value on the mothers, fathers, families and broader communities that surround children and aims to provide them with the support they need to ensure the next generation is healthy, happy, and ready to learn. Designed to be adaptable to different communities and organizations, the program model is rooted in five main principles.

GUIDING PRINCIPLE

Following
the community’s lead

Discover how the Early Years’ diverse programming and adaptable infrastructure ensures that local communities set the priorities when co-developing family supports and services.

GUIDING PRINCIPLE

Catalysing
local knowledge

Experienced moms from the community are great resources for new families. Meet the Early Years Visitors, who receive professional early childhood training and enter a rewarding career pathway.

GUIDING PRINCIPLE

Applying inclusive
early learning research

A child’s first years are critical for their development, learning, health and well-being, and the overall trajectory of their life. Learn how the program prioritizes the parent-child relationship.

GUIDING PRINCIPLE

Adapting and responding
to cultural contexts

Dig into the Early Years Toolbox, which features learning tools rooted in language and culture. Illustrated cards promote Indigenous traditions, play-based learning, and relationship-building skills right from the start.

GUIDING PRINCIPLE

Measuring progress
from the inside

See how the program’s cutting-edge, customizable case and data management system gives communities tools to understand the program’s impact and ensure its sustainability.

“Now we realize that western ways don’t always work for Indigenous people. We are taking a step back and using our own ways to improve our mental, emotional and spiritual health.”
— Charlene Rattlesnake
(Wapikeesigooikwa)
EARLY YEARS FAMILY AND CULTURAL COORDINATOR,
MASKWACIS, ALBERTA

Case Studies

Download our case studies

Starting a collaboration

Building relationships
builds momentum

Indigenous communities know better than anyone what’s best for their children. They know that the home is the ideal place to strengthen and sustain cultural identity and well-being. Recognizing that caregiving solutions are not one-size-fits-all,  the Early Years’ program focuses on flexible infrastructure, relationships based on trust, and working collaboratively to adapt and progress.