IIlisaqsivik Society runs a variety of programs to help parents gain the skills and resources they need to facilitate healthy child development and deal with the challenges and stresses of parenthood. Our programs for children help them gain skills in Inuktitut language, connect with elders in a positive way, learn Inuit cultural practices and traditional skills, and access healthy foods and develop healthy lifestyles. We are always working to enhance our programs to meet the needs of parents and children identified by the community. All of Ilisaqsivik’s children’s programming is overseen by our Children’s Programming Committee, and we also hire a Counselling Elder who works with our children’s programs to help kids develop strong bond with elders and to teach Inuktitut language and Inuit knowledge. Currently, we offer the following programming:
Children’s Programming Committee – All of Ilisaqsivik’s children’s programming is overseen by a committee of parents, teachers, elders, and other community members. The committee meets monthly and provides important guidance for Ilisaqsivik’s children’s program staff.
Piruqsiakkut (CAPC and CPNP) – Through our Community Action Program for Children (CAPC) and Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP), Ilisaqsivik serves healthy meals and snacks six evenings a week to women, infants and children from pregnancy through age six. These programs emphasize knowledge needed to make healthy choices, from information about Fetal Alchohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) to diabetes to the health benefits of country food. Participants learn in a fun, supportive environment where they do sewing and crafts. Elders share stories and knowledge about traditional parenting and offer parenting advice.
Preschool – Ilisaqsivik Society offers preschool five days a week with instructors who are trained early childhood educators and Ilisaqsivik Society’s Counselling Elder. Through cooperative play and interaction, the children develop fine motor skills and learn traditional crafts, songs and stories. Children are taught in Inuktitut, and are introduced to numbers, syllabics, and the Roman alphabet.
Parents and Tots – Ilisaqsivik offers a Parents and Tots program five afternoons a week for parents and their infants and toddlers up to two years of age. The program is designed to strengthen the relationship between parent and child and promote the parent as the child’s first and most important teacher.
After School Program – Ilisaqsivik provides after school programming to more than 100 children from the community every afternoon. The programming includes literacy in Inuktitut and English, crafts, having fun, and providing healthy snacks and basic nutrition and healthy lifestyle education.
Parent Support Group – Concurrently with preschool, Ilisaqsivik Society also offers a Parent Support Group that meets twice per week. Parents share advice and anecdotes while working on projects for their kids (e.g. Halloween costumes, traditional clothing, slippers, mittens, scarves, hats, pencil cases, puppets). It is a quiet time for parents to regroup, build supportive and mentoring relationships, and relax.
Inuktitut Literacy – Ilisaqsivik Society seeks to empower children in our community by improving Inuktitut language skills. We run a variety of programs to encourage children to read and enjoy books, magazines, newspapers, and their own writing. These include our After-School Literacy Project, our Tutoring Initiative, our Pre-Literacy Program, and our Literacy Circle.
Home Visits – For parents who need extra support or who are unable to attend programs at Ilisaqsivik, a trained early childhood educator conducts 45 minute home visits two to three times a week. Many of our The Home Visits teacher brings activities, books and snacks to the home and shares learning with parent and child. An important aspect of Home Visits is to improve children’s Inuktitut language skills and to practice motor skills as appropriate for their age group.
Special Needs – Ilisaqsivik Society employees a special needs tutor who conducts speech and language therapy in Inuktitut and English five days a week with young children (1 – 5 years old).
Radio Show – Community radio is a very important means of communication in Clyde River. Many households keep the radio tuned tuned to the radio throughout the day, stopping to listen to their favorite shows and calling in to share news and stories. Once a week, Ilisaqsivik teachers and instructors host a two-hour Children’s Literacy Radio Show for parents and preschool children (daytime show) and school-aged children (evening programming). The shows features stories in Inuktitut from teachers, visiting community members, Elders, and children, as well as literacy games and call-in contests with prizes. The games and contests challenge local children to practice their Inuktitut in a fun and supportive way, and rewards them for their participation. The show also features call-in segment for parents or guardians to share a story about their child with the community, and a weekly activity that parents and children can do at home together. The hosts share knowledge with the entire community about healthy childcare practices and responsible, effective parenting techniques.