About Our Indigenous-Led EarlyON

Our EarlyON centre at the Kitchener location with toys, art supplies, tables and chairs.

Our vision is to be a beacon for all First People living here now and into the future.

Our centre is part of a network of Early Childhood and Family Centres across Ontario. Anishnabeg Outreach EarlyON is part of a proposed innovative hub for Indigenous-led and supported programming that serves First People, as well as the general public living in the Waterloo Region.

We have partnered with Waterloo Region to deliver our services and we are funded by the province’s Journey Together reconciliation initiative. Learning from the YMCA and other early years partners we are intending to reproduce common best practices while delivering lifelong learning opportunities and social space for families. We will be focused on providing Indigenous led and developed programs associated with traditional and land-based wisdoms and skills.  We will be relying on the ongoing guidance of Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers to deliver these programs.

We are aiming our programming towards spirit building and fostering an inclusive community. We are committed to engaging caregivers, families, and children to help develop meaningful, and lasting connections.

We provide services geared towards healing, wellness, and empowerment for Indigenous families, holistic and inclusively for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) in the region to learn, gather, and celebrate our shared heritage and our common challenges.

AO offers child-centred, engaging programs and services for all children aged birth to six years of age. As well parent/caregiver centred educational programs. We deliver a mix of holistic, Indigenous-led pedagogy, as well as other non-indigenous programs, both concentrated on providing a friendly environment that fosters learning, mentoring and development, and provides support to children, families, and caregivers.

Our practices are guided by the following pedagogical documents:

Moreover, we are guided by Medicine Wheel teachings known as Gifts of the Four Directions. This pedagogical paradigm engages the individual, family, and community in a dynamic process that is focused on active engagement with these gifts, which include the ability to visualize, the importance of caring and building relationships, as well as seeking knowledge and taking action in our lives.

Our programming is evolving from the First Nation Lifelong Learning Model where supports for children include environment, educator, and family. The spirit and intent of this model ensures the child remains the core and focuses on the role of communities of care.

In our service design we are also drawing from the Metis Holistic Lifelong Learning Model and the Inuit Learning Models to express the underlying philosophy and principals that inform our centres programming