March 31, 2023

The aim is to offer high-quality, culturally-rich programming to Inuit infants, toddlers and preschoolers in order to equip them with the abilities and confidence to reach faculty.

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A brand new, $1-million childcare centre, opened on the location of the previous Rideau Excessive Faculty, will cater to the wants of Ottawa’s rising Inuit neighborhood.

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The Pirurviapik Childcare Centre will play host to 49 Inuit youngsters between the ages of six months and 6 years.

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Its aim is to offer high-quality, culturally-rich programming to Inuit infants, toddlers and preschoolers in order to equip them with the abilities and confidence to reach faculty.

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The centre will concentrate on connecting Inuit scholar to their language, tradition and neighborhood. College students shall be taught the sounds and phrases of Inuktitut, one in every of Nunavut’s 4 official languages, in an setting that additionally embraces French and English.

Kids shall be anticipated to have about 200 phrases of Inuktitut by the point they attain the age of two.

“Language is tied to tradition, so it’s extraordinarily necessary to us that they’re listening to the sounds of their mom tongue,” mentioned Heather Ochalski, director of the early years program on the Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Kids, Youth and Households, which can function the childcare centre.

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Kids will do a sequence of actions tied to their tradition — constructing Styrofoam igloos, making snow goggles, stitching mittens, slicing playdough with ulus, consuming conventional meals — that can expose them to the related Inuktitut language.

Cultural educators, Ochalski mentioned, may even sing aqausiqs to the centre’s youngest youngsters: songs about every youngster’s private story and kinships. “It’s actually singing to the kid in regards to the youngster, and the life story of the particular person they’re named after,” Ochalski defined.

Literacy expertise are transferrable, Ochalski mentioned, so a scholar in a position to converse, learn and write in Inuktitut will be capable of use those self same expertise to study English or French.

Research have proven that early literacy expertise are a crucial part of future faculty success: College students who can learn proficiently by the top of Grade 3 have a a lot increased probability of graduating from highschool than those that battle to learn on the identical age.

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There’s additionally analysis that means Indigenous college students who research of their first language or have bilingual instruction have extra success at school.

Kathleen Jadan, early years supervisor on the Pirurviapik centre, referred to as it “a singular and thrilling program.” “That is their first cease on a protracted tutorial journey so we wish it to be constructive and enriching,” she mentioned. “We need to assist them deal with the calls for of college, and we wish them to adore it.”

One part of Rideau Excessive Faculty was renovated over three years to accommodate the Pirurviapik Childcare Centre. Ottawa’s CSV Architects designed the house to spotlight Inuit artwork and drew inspiration from the northern lights in selecting the color palette.

A full-sized polar bear disguise decorates one of many partitions.

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The Metropolis of Ottawa, the Ontario authorities and the Ottawa-Carleton District Faculty Board all contributed to the $1-million challenge.

The Pirurviapik centre — the Inuktitut phrase means “a spot to develop” — will make use of six workers members, together with 4 Inuit early youngster educators.

Ottawa is now dwelling to about 6,000 Inuit residents, which suggests the town has the biggest Inuit inhabitants outdoors of the Arctic. For many years, Inuit households have migrated to Ottawa for well being care, schooling and jobs.

Canada’s Reality and Reconciliation Fee, in its calls to motion, mentioned Indigenous youngsters urgently want culturally related early youngster schooling and childcare packages.

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open home shall be held on the Pirurviapik centre, situated at 815 St. Laurent Blvd., on Sept. 17 between 11 a.m. and a couple of p.m.

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