Understanding the Early Years course provides opportunities for culturally competent early childhood educator training

by ahnationtalk on May 25, 202386 Views


The Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada are committed to increasing access for all families to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care across the Yukon.

Building on this commitment and supported by federal funding through the Canada-Yukon Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement – 2021 to 2026 , the Yukon government has signed an agreement for over $925,000 in funding over the next three years with the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate (YFNED) and their Early Years Program. This agreement supports the design and delivery of a First Nations “Understanding the Early Years” course as part of the larger program.

“Understanding the Early Years” is a Yukon First Nations designed and developed course that will be offered in Whitehorse and in rural communities, with special focus on communities that have limited access to professional development. The course provides opportunities for both employees of licensed programs currently working without a certificate level and Yukoners wanting to enter the early childhood education field.

Yukoners who successfully complete the course will receive a Level 1 certificate to practice as an early childhood educator from the Yukon Department of Education’s Early Learning and Child Care Unit.

Our partnerships with the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate (YFNED) and Yukon First Nations governments are vital for reconciliation, decolonizing our education system and increasing access to inclusive, culturally rich and culturally appropriate educational programming. With a focus on developing the early childhood educator workforce in rural Yukon communities, the Department of Education’s collaboration with YFNED’s Early Years Program significantly advances access to high-quality early learning programs for families across the territory. Supporting the Early Years Program represents our government’s commitment to meaningful reconciliation and addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

Yukon’s Minister of Education Jeanie McLean

Early childhood educators are the very core of the Canada-wide system we are building with provinces and territories. The “Understanding the Early Years” course will help ensure that early childhood educators in the Yukon are better equipped with the skills, training, and knowledge they need to successfully provide culturally appropriate services.

Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould

This agreement is a necessary first step to ensure early childhood workers are receiving training and certification delivered through a Yukon First Nations lens. This will mean more capacity in the communities, better support for families of young children and more kids receiving care that reflects Yukon First Nations culture and worldview. We look forward to further work with the Governments of Canada and Yukon to support Indigenous learners of all ages.

Executive Director of YFNED Melanie Bennett

Quick facts

  • This course will be offered six times a year and will be free of charge for participants. Fifteen Yukoners will be able to enroll in the first course offered this summer.
  • This initiative is supported by the Yukon’s Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, signed with the Government of Canada in July 2021, which provides nearly $42 million in federal funding over five years to help improve licensed early learning and child care for children under 6 in the territory.
  • This funding complements investments made by the Government of Canada in Indigenous early learning and child-care to support the co-developed Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework and strengthen culturally appropriate early learning and child-care programs for First Nations children and families in the Yukon.
  • YFNED is dedicated to capacity-building, systems and resources development, second-level educational programs and services enhancement and learner supports. YFNED advances First Nation decision-making and aspirations for control over education, providing technical support, research and advice for Framework Agreement processes and advocates for First Nation student success across the system.
  • YFNED works with the Martin Family Initiative to continue developing the Early Years program, including the “Understanding the Early Years” course.


Jordan Owens
Cabinet Communications

Olivia Blisner
Communications, Education

Philippe-Alexandre Langlois
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould

Erin Loxam
Communications, YFNED


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