North

Nunavut daycares to get toys, books, posters in Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun

'It was important for children to see themself in the resources, in the storybooks and the posters. Things that educators up here cannot purchase,' said Inhabit Media's Neil Christopher.

Iqaluit-based Inhabit Media created materials, like syllabic wood blocks and fridge magnets

Neil Christopher is with Inhabit Media, the Iqaluit-owned publishing company that created the daycare resources. (Angela Hill/CBC)

New books and toys in Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun will be showing up in daycares across Nunavut in the coming months.

"It's really exciting because this is really serving the children of Nunavut and really reflective on the needs identified by practitioners," said Neil Christopher, a managing partner of Inhabit Media, the Iqaluit-owned publishing company that created the materials.

Inhabit met with focus groups of people who work in daycares to learn about the needs of different communities and the resources they couldn't get in Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun. The initiative has a strong emphasis on language and culture, Christopher said.

The initiative has a strong emphasis on language and culture. (Angela Hill/CBC)

"It was important for children to see themselves in the resources, in the storybooks and the posters. Things that educators up here cannot purchase," he said.

The responsibility for these culturally-appropriate tools falls to the territorial government's Early Learning and Child Care department, Christopher said.

"They recognized this and created unique resources made in Nunavut that are available nowhere else in the world. Things like syllabic wood blocks, syllabic fridge magnets, a circle-time rug, all with northern imagery."

Books to make flash cards in Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun are among the resources. (Angela Hill/CBC)

"We've been very fortunate that we have worked with Inhabit Media and they are developing some amazing resources for the centres," said Leslie Leafloor, early childhood development manager for the territorial government.

The resources are funded through a three-year bilateral agreement between the federal and Nunavut governments that started in 2017.

It's really exciting because this is really serving the children of Nunavut.- Neil Christopher, Inhabit Media

Professional development and training for early childhood educators and daycare workers was an area that was lacking in the territories, Leafloor said, and they wanted to see improvements.

The resources were unveiled during early learning and child-care training in Iqaluit on Sunday. There were 90 participants from daycares across the territory that attended.

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