Thunder Bay·Audio

Diagnosis education: Sioux Lookout hospital sets up classroom

The Meno Ya Win Health Centre will again offer classes to children and their expectant moms who have to stay in Sioux Lookout for extended periods.

Meno Ya Win Health Centre offers classes to expectant moms and their children who must stay near hospital

The Meno Ya Win Health Centre in Sioux Lookout is the site of a special classroom for expectant mothers, and their children, who must stay in the town for extended periods.

The Meno Ya Win Health Centre will again offer classes to children and their expectant moms who have to stay in Sioux Lookout for extended periods.

The superintendent of education for the Keewatin Patricia District School Board said the children travel to Sioux Lookout with their mothers, who are receiving medical care at the end of their pregnancies.

Caryl Hron said the hospital classroom began as a pilot project last spring, to ensure children weren't missing out on their education because they had to leave their home community.

Hron said there was an elementary school teacher for children in kindergarten to Grade 8, and a continuing education teacher to help the young mothers work on their high school credits.

She said the moms, in particular, appreciated the setting.

"It's sometimes very overwhelming or scary to have your kids with you," she said.

"I think the fact that the classroom was in the building, they could walk down. They could meet the teachers. They could see the programming. I think they felt a sense of ... comfort, and I think they were happy that their kids were able to be in school, and the kids were very happy. It was a great classroom, and a great environment for those students, and those young children to be in."

The classes start up again in October.

"It was a bright, welcoming environment," Hron continued.

"The kids had lots of books. They had technology, computers, a smartboard. When you went in the kids were quite happy, working one-on-one with the teacher, working with some other children, and they were happy to be there, and happy not to be missing out on being with other children and being in school."

Hron said the project is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education. The children are not registered in the Keewatin Patricia District School Board, however the students remain registered at the school in their First Nation so their home community keeps those education dollars.

Tthe program worked so well in the spring, it's now expanding to include Tikanagan Child and Family Services, and to moms and kids at the women's shelter in Sioux Lookout.