Ottawa Inuit centre offers school-readiness program with cultural component

August 13, 2014

The Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre (OICC) is offering for the first time the School’s Cool school-readiness program tailored for Inuit youth ages 3–5. School’s Cool uses play-based learning to increase developmental skills and prepare children for the school environment. The OICC program includes cultural components as well, in order to help the children remain connected to their culture and traditions. Children learn through participation in structured play: blocks teach numbers and letters, some toys enhance fine motor skills, and everyday interactions help youth with communication and sharing. “What we’re doing is giving them a place where they can come every day and be Inuit, and the School’s Cool is just an extension of doing that,” explains OICC Executive Director Karen Baker-Anderson. Children attend the program for 3 hours a day for 6 weeks, and according to program officials, participants can make a 50-week improvement in developmental skills in that short time. Ottawa Citizen