Algonquin Inodewiziwin Child and Family Centre is now OPEN

Algonquin Inòdewiziwin Child and Family Centre is now OPEN

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The Centre in Maynooth Public School is now open daily Monday to Friday from 1 to 4 pm with the last two weeks in August closed.  Then starting in September the Centre in Maynooth will be open 9 to 4 daily with full programming occurring.  More information can be found on our website  and on our calendar.   Please join us for the Grand Opening on September 14th where we will celebrate the new Program with dignitaries and community!

NHCS is happy to be able to support this new EarlyON Centre through administrative duties and combined programming throughout our established services and outreach sites.  The new Centre will be led by the Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin Community with an Advisory Committee of the Anishinaabe Baptiste Community Organization.

In the Hastings County Early Years needs assessment, culturally sensitive programs and services were identified as a need from parents. Incorporating and embracing a child’s/family’s ethnicity was also important, particularly for Indigenous families. Indigenous parents and service providers spoke about the importance of using Indigenous approaches, resources and cultural practices as a necessary part of renewing identity and cultural understanding, pride and spirit.

Both Indigenous and non-indigenous families can benefit from the services that will be provided in the new Centre.  The core services will be the same as all EarlyON Centres; Engaging Parents and Caregivers, Supporting Early Learning and Development, and Making Connections for Families.  The Centre will include cultural celebrations and will also include careful acknowledgment, respect and an understanding of difference and complexities of the Algonquin worldview, culture and language. 

Many Indigenous peoples view children not from the perspective of what they cannot do, but rather, from the perspective of what they potentially can do, and what they bring to the whole community.  There is the belief that child development does not fit with the age-based stages defined by Western-based child development in the same ways.  Instead child development is strongly grounded in the community’s responsibility of helping children strengthen their cultural identity and place within the community as they move well into adulthood.

Early Years Professionals recognize the value of the cultural supportive programming but often lack the tools and knowledge to do this in a respectful way.   Everyone has a culture, and sometimes this culture may be invisible to us.  A child’s first and most important teachers are their parents.  The Algonquin Inòdewiziwin programs will support parents and caregivers well-being and support them in their role(s) as their child’s first teacher.

Algonquin Elder teachings, and eventually language circles, will rebuild intergenerational cultural continuity that is being lost in the area.  In the broadest sense, culture is the “customs” and “values” we use to express ourselves and engage in the world around us. Customs can include celebrations, holidays, how people communicate and roles of individuals within a family. Values are our beliefs or the reasons for our actions including the role of children, role of the environment, or an understanding of the world in which we live.

Through our partnership with the Anishinaabe Baptiste Community Organization, we have hired Algonquin Elder, Ada Tinney as the Planner and Elder for the Centre.  A full time Cultural and Language Coordinator, Michele Gaudry as well as an Early Childhood Educator, Diane Martin will also support the program.   This program will provide joint programming with regular NHCS EarlyON Programs in Outreach and in Centre to provide a fully inclusive and supportive programs for children and their families.

A special thank you goes to Ada Tinney, Lisa Resmer, Stephen Hunter and Hastings County for their hard work and dedication to supporting families in our community.  For more information please contact Ada Tinney at atinney@nhcs.ca or Jessica Anderson at janderson@nhcs.ca.