Child Care and Family Centre Rooted in Indigenous Language and Culture
The Centre will be built at 449 Hill Street, within the shared territory of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), Haudenosaunee (Oneida) and Leni-Lenape (Delaware) peoples. It will be the first of its kind in London, offering culturally relevant licensed child care and early years and family programming to families in London and Middlesex. Within a rich, culture-based learning environment, families can play and have fun together, strengthen relationships, connect with other families and with early childhood professionals.
We recognize children as gifts from Creator, and we seek to foster the healthy development of children and families. The strengths and gifts of all families, children, and Centre staff will be acknowledged and celebrated.
Child Care, early years, and family programs will incorporate Indigenous teachings and values, and will focus on the on the four foundations of learning: belonging, wellbeing, engagement, and expression.
The licensed child care will be a safe, reliable program for children age 0-6 that will be based in language and culture. These programs will be staffed by individuals who are knowledgeable of early childhood development and Indigenous ways of knowing.
In addition to programs for families with young children, SOAHAC is collaborating with community partners to provide activities, resources and programs for the whole family. The Centre will be a place to connect to all of the opportunities offered for families, including ceremonies and land-based learning opportunities.
Construction of the Centre is expected to be completed in late 2020. You can stay updated by following our Facebook page or watching for announcements on the SOAHAC website.
Who we are
Since it began, this project has been guided and supported by the Journey Together Indigenous Planning Committee, which includes representatives from local Indigenous-led organizations, Indigenous parents and caregivers, and other planning partners.
Led by SOAHAC, we are a group of local community members and service agencies who are helping to guide the development of the Centre because we share a common desire to strengthen the social fabric of our community. Language, cultural identity, and relationships are important to us. We believe that children who learn their traditional language will walk through this life with confidence, pride and strength. We believe that reclaiming culture together with our children is an important part of healing, thriving, and building a future for the next seven generations. We also believe that relationships with self, parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles, community members, elders, and the land are vital to wellbeing.
Child Care & Family Centre Q’n’A
What is a Family Centre?
A Family Centre makes life easier for families by offering a single door to all of the opportunities available in the community. They offer a range of services and programs, engage people in their communities and provide information, resources and referrals. Parents and Guardians can learn and play with their children, meet people, and get advice from early childhood professionals.
How will this Centre be different from other EarlyON Child and Family Centres?
This is the first Indigenous-led Child Care and Family Centre in London-Middlesex. Centre activities will be rooted in culture and language, including opportunities to learn about Indigenous ways of knowing, identity, and family teachings. The Centre will also be a gathering place for all nations, where families can connect with each other, connect with knowledge-keepers, and attend Ceremonies. Families will also be able to access a number of support services and connect with local agencies to support physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
What kinds of things will happen there?
The Indigenous-led Child Care and Family Centre will include a licensed child care facility for up to 88 children aged 0-6 in London. The Family Centre will also offer Early Years programs that are free, high quality drop-in programs for families and children. Parents and Guardians can learn and play together with their children, meet people, and get advice from early childhood professionals. The Family Centre is also a gathering place for community members. In addition to early years programs and services, a variety of services that support the mental, spiritual, physical and emotional wellbeing of the whole family will be offered in partnership with organizations in London.
Where will the Centre be located?
The Centre will be located at 449 Hill Street in London, in the SoHo Neighbourhood. The City of London purchased the former St. John French Immersion School and will demolish the building in April 2019. In fall 2019, the City of London will transfer the land to SOAHAC to construct a newly designed building to house the licensed child care and child and family centre.
When will the Centre be open?
We anticipate that the Centre will open in late 2020.
How can I get involved?
How can I register for child care?
Watch our website for an announcement about registering for child care; we anticipate registration to open in Spring 2020.
When will you be hiring staff for the Centre?
Staff recruitment for the Child Care and Family Centre may begin as early as Spring 2020. Stay tuned to our website and social media for job postings.
What kinds of positions will you be hiring for?
There is a need in the community for Registered Early Childhood Educators (R.ECE) and/or Registered Native Early Childhood Educators (R.NECE) to support licensed child care. In addition to these positions, child cares and early years programs require dietary planners and administrative staff. At this time, SOAHAC is still determining the needs for staffing.
If you would like to learn more about becoming an R.ECE or R. NECE, visit the resources section below.
Early Childhood Educator Resources
- Anishinaabek Educational Institute (NECE program)
- Conestoga College ECE Program
- Fanshawe College ECE Program
- First Nations Technical Institute ECE Program
- Lambton College ECE Program
- Licensed Child Care Network
- Mohawk College ECE Program
- Nokee Kwe London Employment and Education Center
Follow Our Journey
We are currently in the demolition phase of the project. The City of London purchased the former St. John French Immersion School and will demolish the building in April 2019. In fall 2019, the City of London will transfer the land to SOAHAC to construct a newly designed building to house the licensed child care and child and family centre. Throughout the entire timeline, we will be at community events to connect with families and communities in London and Middlesex.
- April 2019 Demolition begins
- Fall 2019 Construction begins
- Late 2020 Opening
Media Stories & Releases
The Indigenous-led Child Care and Family Centre is being constructed with support from the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada, in partnership with the City of London. It is being led and operated by the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC).
Naomi Wilson, Coordinator — SOAHAC Child Care & Family Centre
226-377-3201 [email protected]
Russell Green, Community Animator
519-200-1135 [email protected]
We are taking a collaborative approach to planning for Indigenous families, and can see the Centre as an extension of the services offered by partnering agencies. This includes addressing the specific supports and services needed for healthy Indigenous families and Indigenous child development.
Aboriginal Babies and Beyond Coalition – Supports families through enriched resources, including book bundles, car seat clinics, and early years health fairs.
Atlohsa Family Healing – Provides services and support for healing related to family violence, understanding that family violence is not traditional in First Nations cultures, but a result of colonialism and intergenerational trauma.
Fanshawe College Institute of Indigenous Learning – Provides academic services, social, cultural, and recreational activities as well as a comfortable atmosphere for First Nations students.
London Children’s Connection – Connects children and families with services such as child care, family programming, early years supports
N’Amerind Friendship Centre – Provides culturally relevant programs aimed at social, recreational and educational needs; at developing leadership, at increasing awareness levels of native heritage, establishing resources for community development and in promoting the development of urban aboriginal self-governing institutions.
Nokee Kwe – culturally sensitive, client-centred approaches and support services related to securing employment, education, and training.