The 5th Annual First Nations Early Learning Conference was a success! Nurturing the Spirit of the Developing Child brought together several educators, presenters, and trailblazers who have an interest in early learning from a First Nations perspective.
From MFNERC’s Executive Director Lorne C. Keeper, “The Centre believes that children matter. We know education is at its best when it elevates the importance of First Nations children. Our work should reflect the belief that children are sacred gifts, just as our Elders have shared with us. Educators must empower children to believe in themselves and to foster their identities in all areas – mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. When children are respected, they can reach their brightest potential, both in school and in everyday situations.”
This conference hosted three extraordinary keynote speakers over this two-day event. We praise Dr. Majorie Kostelnik, Dr. Susan Hopkins, and Dr. Debbie Pushor for their insight, expertise, and wisdom into early learning practices and strategies.
Participants were also met with 36 workshops, some exciting learning opportunities titled Recovering and Revitalizing Our Families through Traditional Parenting, Publishing Your Story, Oral Tradition Teaches Us about Life on the Land, Baby, Toddler, and Preschool Sign Language, and Animation in Tynker. Enjoyed by many, a come-and-go self-regulation room offered a space to practise mindfulness to reduce stress.
A significant event highlight included an Elders panel titled Wisdom Speaks: Elders and Grandparents. With gratitude, we acknowledge the contributions of Modest Antsanen (Dene), Ruth Norton (Ojibwe), Irvin Wilson (Ojibwe), Don Robertson (Cree), Eunice Beardy (Cree), Helen Lagorio (Ojibwe-Cree), and Angele Enekwinnare (Dene).
A large thank you is extended to Susy Komishin (Partnerships Project Lead) and the entire Early Learning Team. Mindy Sinclair, Anne Rundle, Sheila Murdock, Louise Cameron, Anderson Agbugba, Jessica Chisholm, Audrey Fourre, and Deborah McKenzie—your hard work made this event a success.
And finally, thank you to everyone who attended, learned with an open heart and mind, and shared their knowledge with us. Be sure to check out our gallery to see more of what happened at the 5th Annual Early Learning Conference!
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