Date: February 03, 2000
Members of Fourteen Manitoba First Nations Earn Early Childhood Education Certificates
The pursuit of post-secondary studies is difficult for residents of remote communities but a partnership between UVic's school of child and youth care and the Awasis Agency of Northern Manitoba makes it possible. Sixty-five students from 14 First Nations communities recently completed a two-year diploma program in early childhood education and were recognized at a special assembly in Thompson, Manitoba on Jan. 28. The students were taught by Awasis managers who were able to complete their UVic masters degrees in child and youth care in their communities by special arrangement with the school. They, in turn, flew into rural and isolated communities to deliver the program's courses.
The program, called "The Child Care Visions Initiative in Support of Community Wellness," provides an education relevant to strengthening a community's capacity to provide quality care for its children, youth and families. The program combines traditional knowledge and practices that reflect the students' communities with mainstream theory, research and practices in child development and care. Elders from five communities who assisted with the program were also acknowledged at the special assembly.
Four hundred students have enrolled in courses since the program began. Since they can remain in their community to study, the students are able to advance their education without disrupting their employment or their families. The program builds on a relationship that started in 1995 when UVic's school of child and youth care agreed to provide a master's program by special agreement for 17 family care workers in Thompson. Fourteen workers were with the Awasis agency, which delivers social services to remote reserve communities. UVic instructors flew into Thompson for several days at the beginning, middle and end of each term. The students completed their studies by using a fax, phone and email.
The students who completed the three-year program and received certificates are:
Barren Lands First Nation
Garden Hill First Nation
Dr. Frances Ricks (child and youth care) at (250) 721-6143.
UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media