MNO’s Early Learning and Child Care
Professional Learning Conference Returns
April 9-11, 2021
Over 110 educators, professionals, and community leaders gathered for three days of workshops and conversations during the Métis Nation of Ontario’s (MNO) second annual Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Professional Learning Conference.
Delivered through a distinctly Métis lens, the online conference helped ELCC professionals gain a better understanding of the Métis people in Ontario.
“There is a knowledge gap with regard to Métis in the field of Early Learning,” shared Amanda Pont-Shanks, MNO Early Learning and Child Care Manager. “Many educators have said that they do not feel comfortable teaching Métis content as they do not have knowledge on who the Métis are, or they worry about presenting incorrect information. We hope to provide educators working in the field an opportunity to learn more about the Métis people, MNO programs and services and to connect them to resources, Community Councils, MNO staff, Métis artisans and vendors.”
The conference agenda featured a blend of information on programs and supports for educators and early learners, Métis cultural activities, and targeted discussions on navigating the virtual learning landscape. Participants were invited to Breakout Room Learning Workshops, “Incorporating Métis Culture in (Virtual) Learning,” with topics ranging from Métis beadwork, to mental health supports, and Métis books, educational resources, and cultural items.
“Even given the virtual setting, participants felt they were in a welcome and open space to share experiences and ask questions,” says Alison Tryl, ELCC Program Coordinator. “People really loved the Métis 101 and are looking forward to the resources in development under the MNO ELCC Program.”
The MNO ELCC program is continuously working to inform local, provincial and federal initiatives on Early Learning and Child Care so they better reflect the diverse and distinct needs of Métis early years’ youth (0-12 years) in Ontario by:
- Addressing existing gaps in services
- Assessing the inclusivity of those services for Métis children and youth,
- Determining ways to make mainstream programming more culturally appropriate, and
- Exploring opportunities for new program involvement and delivery
The ELCC program offers many services for Métis families including: the Child Care Subsidy Program; Extra Curricular Support Program; and Early Learning Educational Support Advocates (coming soon!). ELCC staff can also make referrals to the MNO Mental Health team so children can access assessments or other supports, such as speech or occupational therapy. To learn more about the MNO ELCC supports and programs, visit the MNO website: https://www.metisnation.org/programs-and-services/education-training/early-learning-and-child-care.