Last month the MNBC Board of Directors unanimously passed a motion in support of asking staff to develop a new pilot program to support the expansion of services for early childhood learning.
The Board motion requested that by this fall MNBC staff report back to with a detailed work plan to:
- Support the expansion of services for early childhood learning
- Put a priority on increasing the capacity of Métis people to operate their own culturally appropriate day cares across British Columbia
- Work with existing Métis service providers
“I’m so pleased that our Board has worked together to support this initiative that will help Métis families across our Nation,” says Clara Morin Dal Col, President and Minister of Education. “This is a great first step in what I hope will be a number of programs that will be coming on board in the months to come.”
Métis Nation British Columbia’s vision for Métis children throughout British Columbia is that all children birth to 8 experience a state of well-being that allows them to live healthy and happy lives, and to fulfill their full potential as individuals, members of their family, their community, the Métis Nation, and as British Columbians.
Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) signed the Métis Nation Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Accord with Canada in March 2019. The purpose of the Accord is to support Métis-centered early learning and child care and the promotion of the healthy growth and development of Métis children, families and communities. Improving education, health and social outcomes for Métis children is Nation-building and promotes self-governance and self-determination for the Métis Nation.
This pilot program aims to ensure that MNBC partners with Métis Chartered communities and Métis child and family agencies to support early learning and child care. There are Métis children and family agencies in some of the fastest growing Métis communities in British Columbia and include Victoria, Surrey, Kamloops, Kelowna and Prince George.
“It is critically important that we build capacity within our Métis communities to develop and deliver culturally appropriate early learning and child care programs for our Métis children birth to 8 years old,” says President Dal Col. “Successfully launching these types of initiatives serves to set a much clearer pathway for us toward self-government.”
To ensure that all early years programs are culturally appropriate, distinctions-based cultural resources and curriculum are being developed that will be shared with Métis Chartered communities, Métis children and family agencies, early years service providers (Indigenous and non-Indigenous), and primary programs (Kindergarten to Grade 3). The resources are being developed in collaboration with the Metis Early Years Program and the Ministry of Education.
Although the Metis Early Years Program is a separate program from the ELCC initiative there are many overlapping priorities. The Métis Early Years Navigators have been connecting Métis families to community and culture and linking them to early years programs and services across the province, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
It is this connection with families that has provided insight into what the challenges are for our families as well as their strengths and aspirations. The information and data that has been gathered is an important part of moving forward and promoting the healthy growth and development of Métis children, families and communities. Creating early learning and child care environments that reflect our families and immersing them in their culture and language will ensure that our children are proud to be Métis.
To learn more about this and other activities undertaken by our Ministry of Education, click here.