First Nations Partnership Programs:
First Nations Partnership Programs: Background
First Nations Partnership Programs: Overview
First Nations Partnership Programs (FNPP) is the name given to the programs delivered to date using the Generative Curriculum Model. The partnerships involve a two-year, university-accredited training program that is delivered in First Nations communities through partnerships with the University of Victoria. However, the program could be used in other cultural contexts in addition to First Nations. It is ideally suited to use in cultural communities that are motivated to participate actively in co-delivery of training within their own geographical location, and to playing an active role in bringing cultural content and considerations of community life into the training curriculum. The programs focus on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) as well as youth care (CYC). The scope of the program can be extended provided that resourcing can be found for curriculum development.
Program background and community-orientation
First Nations Partnership Programs began in 1989 when the Meadow Lake Tribal Council of Saskatchewan asked Alan Pence at the University of Victoria's School of Child and Youth Care to join with them in a new way of thinking about how to promote child well-being in aboriginal communities. Like many First Nations communities, the Tribal Council had decided to introduce out-of-home care centres to support children's well-being, but they wanted community members to plan and operate these centres. Thus, they sought a training program that would embody valued aspects of their traditional and contemporary Cree and Dene cultures and languages, and that would also draw upon useful knowledge from mainstream theory, research, and practice. What emerged through this first pilot program was a model for generating curriculum that is:
First Nations partners
First Nations communities on reserves that have partnered with the University of Victoria to deliver the training program include:
Research evaluation (Refer to Program evaluation)
A comprehensive program of research conducted from 1998 to 2000 has yielded clear evidence of the far reaching benefits of this innovative, community-drive, participatory approach. Student retention and successful program completion across the seven partnership programs is twice the national average for First Nations post-secondary training. More importantly, over 95% of program graduates remain in their own communities, rather than the common pattern of going away for training and not returning. To date, with three programs just completed in 1999, 65% of program graduates have created new programs for children and youth, 13% have assumed staff positions in existing programs in their communities, and 11% are continuing with educational studies. Children's programs mounted by program graduates include: out of home daycares; family daycares; Aboriginal Head Start; infant development programs; youth services; school readiness programs; language enhancement programs; and home-school liaison programs. (Refer to Community development)
In developing new programs, program graduates have the benefit of training that has embodied the culture of the community and that has taken account of the living conditions, needs, and goals of children and families in their community. Because this participatory training model involves the community in all phases of program planning, delivery, and evaluation, program graduates report few of the difficulties commonly encountered when soliciting parents' involvement, elder participation, and other community support in mounting new programs. (Refer to Community-based delivery)
The partnership programs have significant positive impacts on the students in ways that result in healthier family environments and positive role models for children. Over 90% of program graduates report that their own parenting and grand parenting behaviours and values have significantly improved. Many program graduates report that they have kindled or rekindled mutually supportive relationships with older people in their community, many of whom played contributory roles in teaching and learning in the training program. Program graduates who suffered ill effects of residential schooling have reported significant psychosocial healing and recovery of cultural identity and pride as a result of their program involvement and subsequent community leadership as advocates for children and youth.
Community administrators have also spoken of the contribution of the program to cultural healing. One of the key program elements that accounts for these far-reaching effects is the centrality of intergenerational teaching and learning through the program. Students, instructors, administrators, and elders themselves have underscored the importance of the relationships formed between members of older and younger generations, and the unique wisdom and experience passed on by elders in class meetings. In most partnering communities, it is reported that through their high profile involvement in the training program, elders are reinstated to their traditional place as respected teachers and guides. (Refer to Intergenerational teaching and learning) Overall, the research has documented unprecedented positive outcomes of this community-based, culturally grounded, partnership approach to capacity building.
The seven pilot partnerships have demonstrated a viable approach to supporting community initiatives aimed at improving developmental conditions for children. One question of interest to many community leaders and institutional administrators is: What is the scope of applicability of the Generative Curriculum Model? Because of the post-modernist values and constructivist methodology of the Generative Curriculum Model, each of the partnership programs has been in some ways unique, bearing the signatures of the particular First Nation culture, locale, and individuals involved. However, the community-supportive, ecological and bicultural principles of the Generative Curriculum Model have guided each partnership and are key determinants of the success of each program. It seems clear that this model has nation-wide applicability across a range of remote and/or vulnerable community and cultural settings where there is a commitment to building capacity and enhancing conditions to support and stimulate.
Questions for future exploration through partnerships
One goal of the First Nations Partnership Programs university-team is to explore the utility of the Generative Curriculum Model across a wider range of community circumstances and cultural constituents. What are the core (indispensable) elements of the partnership program process and content that are necessary to realize the positive ecological impacts documented in the seven pilot programs? How can mainstream institutions become better positioned to support capacity building in small, vulnerable communities? How and what can mainstream fields of child care and development learn from indigenous experiences of supporting children's development through cultural and community traditions and initiatives.
Synopsis: First Nations Partnership Programs
Eight partnership programs between the University of Victoria and First Nations communities have explored the value of bringing community Elders and other community resource people alongside mainstream teaching and learning in post-secondary training in order to ensure bicultural, community-relevant, community-involving processes and outcomes. First Nations community partners engage with a curriculum team from the mainstream institution to develop and deliver community-based, culturally sensitive course work leading to a diploma in Child and Youth Care.
The program was initiated in 1989 when Saskatchewan's Meadow Lake Tribal Council approached Dr. Alan Pence to cooperatively develop a bicultural curriculum that prepared First Nations students to deliver quality child care programs both on and off reserve. The partnership resulted in a 'Generative Curriculum Model' of creating curriculum in which cultural knowledge about child development, child-rearing practices, and community life are considered alongside sampling of Euro-Western theory, research, and practice. These partnerships have clearly shown the tremendous positive potential of involving the community in every step of program development and delivery, and grounding the development of human service practitioners in intergenerational relationships, community-collaboration, and cultural revitalization.
First Nations Partnership Programs: University-based team.
Refer to Program Contacts
Program evaluation and preparation of this website was funded by: