Pregnancy and early childhood is a critical period of physical and social development for young children.  It’s also an important time for families to develop strong, supportive bonds, beginning with the parent-child relationship.  Ilisaqsivik works with parents and families to provide access to healthy food, education, counselling, and traditional crafts, songs, and games. In January through March, we hire hunters to provide country food for these programs, which we serve during meals and send home with participants to feed their families.

Community Action Program for Children (CAPC) – CAPC is a nutrition and parenting education program for mothers and preschool age children age two to six.  While children eat healthy meals and snacks and play games, mothers learn from instructors about child development, healthy lifestyle and food choices including the health benefits of country food, diabetes awareness, management, and prevention, and the importance of exercise.  Instructors use a combination of games, participatory exercises, and observation to create a fun learning environment. Elders regularly participate to facilitate crafts, stories and games, share information about traditional parenting techniques, and offer counselling in a relaxed, informal environment. (This program is supported by funding from Health Canada).

Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) – CPNP serves healthy meals and snacks six evenings a week to pregnant women and new and adoptive mothers with infants up to age 12 months.  Participants learn about health and parenting from Ilisaqsivik Society instructors, elders, and the Community Health Representative, and participate in traditional crafts, sewing, and games.  Topics covered include pregnancy, nutrition, breastfeeding, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), gestational diabetes, child development, traditional and cultural parenting techniques, medicines and other remedies, and the impact of emotional stress and family violence on the health of the fetus.  New participants and newborn babies are given welcome gifts by program staff and participants, such as dipers, baby clothes, blankets, and material.  In the winter months, expert sewers from the community teach traditional sewing project, such as amautiq making. In October, 2010, we participated in a breastfeeding week competition, and won first place in the “Less than 10,000 births per year” category, with 14 mothers breastfeeding at the same time.  (This program is supported by funding from Health Canada).