#IndiraNaidoo-Harris, #IndigenousChildren, #Canada, #culturallyrelevantchildcare, #OntarioFriendshipCentres, #JourneyTogether. #IndigenousRelationsandReconciliation, #SylviaMaracle, #DavidZimmer
Ottawa, Feb 16 (Canadian-Media): Early years programs for First Nation, Métis and Inuit children and their families living in urban and rural areas across the province are being expanded by Ontario by investing in more child care spaces, media reports said.
An announcement was made by Indira Naidoo-Harris, Ontario Minister of Education and Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care this week at the First Nations School of Toronto that province would be investing up to $70 million over two years in child care and child and family programs.
Indira Naidoo-Harris/Facebook page
Development of these programs would reportedly be in partnership with municipal service managers and Indigenous organizations to create 64 new licensed child care spaces and one new child and family program room.
“Culturally relevant child care and early years programs are important for Indigenous families. This funding gives more Indigenous children access to high-quality child care and child and family programs in their communities,” Naidoo-Harris reportedly said.
Ontario is also investing $11.5 million in upgrades and enhancements to the First Nations School of Toronto.
“Creating culturally relevant child care and learning spaces that celebrate the rich history, cultures and languages of Indigenous people, positively impacts students’ self-identity and has been proven to lead to better academic outcomes... Expanding child and family programs and licensed child care services...for Indigenous students like those attending the First Nations School of Toronto is part of our commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples," David Zimmer, Ontario Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation was reported to state.
As part of The Journey Together: Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, the province is also enhancing existing and supporting new child care and child and family programs in 58 off-reserve projects led by Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous organizations.
This includes culturally relevant programming, advice, personal connections, resources and play- and inquiry-based learning for Indigenous children and families.
In 2018, Ontario would reportedly be investing $784 million in 79 new and renovated schools across the province to help create a total of more than 2,700 new licensed child care spaces for children aged 0-4.
An investment of up to $1.6 billion by Ontario would reportedly be made to support new capital funding over the next five years for creation of 45,000 new licensed child care spaces in schools, other public spaces and communities.
Research reportedly shows that positive relationships emerge between quality early learning, child development outcomes, and a parent’s ability to work.
“We are pleased about this expansion in child care and child and family programs in Ontario Friendship Centres through Journey Together. Fifteen Friendship Centres across the province will receive expanded programs and services through this next phase of investments. We know this will have a positive impact for urban Indigenous people living in cities and towns across Ontario. The long-term effects of adequately investing in our children will be felt for generations to come,” Sylvia Maracle, Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres was reported to state.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)