“The Journey from Our Mind to Our Heart”

Last week, MFNERC’s Early Childhood program hosted a First Nations Early Learning Conference, and it truly was a wonderful, informative and memorable event for all involved.

Welcome to the FN Early Learning Conference
Welcome to the FN Early Learning Conference

During the two day conference over 200 early childhood educators from across Manitoba and Saskatchewan were enlightened, entertained and encouraged to try many hands-on early childhood activities. All with the goal of providing accessible information and ideas for educators to bring back to their own daycare centres. Speakers Martin Liberio, David Bouchard and Rob Santos addressed the entire group, and offered much to reflect on through the videos, stories, ideas and personal experiences they shared.

Celebrating Seeds of Empathy families
Seeds of Empathy family

Then it was on to the workshops! With over 20 to pick from, it definitely was not easy to narrow down the choices. In Traditional Family Parenting and Moss Bag Teachings, participants learned about the traditional family systems and teachings that First Nations people used to raise their children before colonization, and how bringing back that traditional knowledge can help raise future generations. Literacy Activities with Cheryl Plaisier explored a wide variety of hands-on activities that can be used to build the literacy skills of children in early childhood settings. Participation was also the name of the game in Welcome to Kindergarten, where workshop leader Jessica Chishom got everyone involved with ideas to support school awareness for early learners. And Art and Heart looked at the importance of art as a communication tool for young children because it is a more direct channel to their feelings than language.

Keynote speaker Martin Liberio pointed out the shift that is happening in our society, how more and more children are spending 0-5 years with early childhood educators. And, with all that was shared, discussed, explored and created at the First Nations Early Learning Conference, the goal of giving our children the best opportunities possible was undeniably strengthened.

Martin Liberio
Martin Liberio

More photos are in our photo gallery.
Watch a recap video of the event.

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