The Métis Nation–Saskatchewan is helping families nurture and support their children. To that end the N–S Early Learning & Child Care (ELCC) Ministry introduced a new Early Learning Backpack Program.
According to Lisa Fleming, MN–S Senior Director of Early Learning and Childcare, the program began on Wednesday.
“The purpose of the backpack program is to support Métis children and families to access early learning materials during COVID,” she explained.
The Backpack Program is one way the MN-S is trying to provide Métis specific learning resources for Métis families.
“What we know is for many families the ability to access their typical regular childhood provider hasn’t always been easy during the pandemic and so Métis Nation-Saskatchewan is offering the backpacks so that families can continue to support their children and give them some high quality early learning experiences with the resources we are providing as a nation,” Fleming explained.
Registered Métis citizens with children five years of age and under can receive specially designed backpacks filled with various learning materials. Younger children will receive baby blankets, and older kids will get everything from markers and crayons to paper, scissors, tape and Métis-focused reading material.
“So registered Metis citizens can apply for a backpack for their child. If the child is not registered we will include information for that family to register their child and to receive a certificate with the child’s name on it,” she explained.
The backpacks contain materials to stimulate creativity, hand-eye coordination and learning development. Families will receive practical strategies and resources to help foster imagination and learning in the early years.
“MN–S recognizes the importance of supporting our early learners. During COVID, many young children were unable to attend childcare programs or early learning centres,” MN–S ELCC Minister, Dr. Earl Cook said in a release.
“These backpacks will assist young children, in their crucial years of early brain development, as they cut, colour, read, sing and grow.”
MN–S citizens who have registered children under a year old, will automatically receive a full backpack in the mail. For children aged one to five, parents and/or caregivers can obtain information on the application process by calling Kristi Ross at 306-292-7443 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I think that we want to continue to encourage our families to access materials and resources for their children and that we hope as a nation that everyone continues to stay safe during the pandemic and we wish everybody the best of luck,” Fleming said.