Children learning, growing, connecting with their traditional roots-these are vitally important elements in Aboriginal communities.
Investing in early childhood programs ensures that Aboriginal children are immersed in their heritage from day one, building deep ties with their language, customs and Elders. Initiatives that encourage these connections help preserve the vibrancy of B.C. Aboriginal communities and culture for future generations.
The Province is investing $5 million in 2011 to continue to support programs aimed at supporting the health and well-being of Aboriginal children. Last year, $6 million in funding supported 547 community projects across B.C. The funding is allocated by the First Nations and Urban Aboriginal Early Childhood Development Steering Committee, who receive and review funding proposals and administer funds to successful applicants. The committee is comprised of representatives from the First Nations Early Childhood Development Council and the Aboriginal Early Years Advisory Circle.
Many of the projects that received funding focus on intergenerational learning, working with Elders to incorporate cultural and language education into schools and children's groups. From regalia-making through to writing and publishing children's books written in Aboriginal languages, funding recipients are creating strong cultural connections for children in their communities.
Other projects include the creation of safe playgrounds, facilities accessible to children with special needs, and starting meal programs for children.
Funding recipients are programs or projects focused on early child development for BC First Nations and urban Aboriginal children, ages zero to six years of age, and their families.
- The $5 million in funding supports activities outlined in Creating Pathways: A Five-Year Aboriginal Early Years Strategic Plan, and in the BC First Nations Early Childhood Development Framework.
- Research studies and community consultations identify early childhood as a key time for laying the foundations of long-term success.
The funding focuses on four priority areas:
- Program enhancements-up to $15, 000 per grant-Supporting existing ECD programs by funding initiatives such as specialized services (e.g. Occupational therapy, Speech and Language support), transportation or workshops to increase family involvement
- Service planning and capacity building-up to $15, 000 per grant-Fostering planning and capacity building for communities wanting to establish new programs and services, particularly in northern, remote and under-served locations
- Capital grants-up to $10, 000 per grant- Improving existing Aboriginal ECD programs by supporting increased access for Aboriginal children with special needs, better health and safety, and professional development for staff.
- Language and culture-up to $20, 000 per grant-Supporting the knowledge, learning and understanding of the role played by language and culture in Aboriginal ECD programs
Organizations interested in participating in the 2011/2012 funding process should watch the website of the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres.
For more information on the Creating Pathways: A Five-Year Aboriginal Early Years Strategic Plan go to:
For more information on the BC First Nations Early Childhood Development Framework go to: http://www.fnesc.ca/Attachments/ECD/ECD%20Consultation%20Document%20Dec%2017%2009.pdf
To learn more about the MCFD's Aboriginal Early Childhood Development Initiative, visit http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_childhood/aecd.htm
Learn Even More:
About the First Nations Early Childhood Development Council, visit: http://fnecdc.ca/
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Children and Family Development