Yellowhead Community Services is launching a new Indigenous childcare program next month called the Eagle’s Nest. (L-r) Sheila Nyman, Syilx Metis elder, Georgina Leppky, early childhood educator and manager of Eagle’s Nest and Aisha Leppky, one of first children enrolled in the new program, enjoy the weather outside the YCS main office last week. Photo by Jaime Polmateer

New Indigenous child care opening in Clearwater

Eagle’s Nest plans to give strong attention to the children’s ancestors and connection to the land.

A new childcare program will open in Clearwater next month for families identifying as First Nations, Metis or Inuit, operating in collaboration with the parents and the various cultures they come from.

The program, which starts Oct. 1 and has been dubbed the Eagle’s Nest, was created by Yellowhead Community Services (YCS) and will offer care to children from birth to aged five.

The Eagle’s Nest plans to give strong attention to the children’s ancestors and connection to the land.

“The focus will be mental, emotional, physical and spiritual—the balance from the medicine wheel,” said Sheila Nyman, elder for the program, who identifies as Syilx Metis.

“It’s home-like and the children will eat together—it’s also multi-aged and the parents will be involved, those that can.”

Parents have the option to volunteer with cooking traditional meals, teaching bead work, and sharing specific knowledge in any capacity they feel comfortable.

There will also be a parent council, giving a hands-on opportunity in the program and insight to their children’s care.

“The parents are always welcome to bring their own knowledge and participate as much or as little as they want to, because we really want to look to the parents as the people with the knowledge of their own children,” said Susanne Butcher, manager of Early Childhood Development Services at YCS.

The Eagle’s Nest will have eight spaces available for families who’d like to join, but there are plans to expand based on the program’s success.

The starting hours for the program will be Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and as management meets with families and assess the need, hours will be adjusted accordingly.

Georgina Leppky, who has deep roots with the Nisga’a Nation and is the early childhood educator and manager for the Eagle’s Nest, said there’s a big need locally for such a program and looks forward to its start.

“We really wanted to provide a safe environment for Indigenous people who aren’t on their traditional territory,” Leppky added.

“So we can honour where we are and still bring our own cultures and keep them alive.”

Butcher agrees there’s no other childcare program specifically meeting the needs of the Indigenous population, and though there are several other licensed programs in the community, they’re quite western in terms of philosophy and care.

The creation of the Eagle’s Nest not only celebrates and recognizes Indigenous people, but is a commitment from YCS to help those families and honor the land and community shared by all, she said.

“In this program we’re also going to provide all the food for the families—so the nurturing, feeding, healthiness and connectedness to the land—we want to follow that through from planting, harvesting, preparing and eating together,” said Butcher.

“With Georgina, that will be part of the program, to plant seeds and harvest them, cook and eat together as a family unit; that will be included in the price of the daycare.”

She added the new B.C. childcare benefit supporting parents with paying childcare fees will also help eligible families attend the Eagle’s Nest program.

Nyman said, ” The Eagle’s Nest and YCS wish to thank the ancestors of the Simpcw First Nation for welcoming us and holding this territory in such a sustainable way for thousands of years; they have taken care of all the creation we see surrounding us and the daycare is a way to help the children and have them nurtured into that awareness of the environment of the earth of creation.”

Those looking to register for the program can contact Leppky at 250-674-1828.

Just Posted

Lacarya ladies golf report for July 10

Weather gods kindly provided a dry afternoon so 15 ladies could play at Lacarya Golf Course

NDP candidate wants to make communities more affordable

Gina Myhill-Jones also counts rich volunteer experience as an asset to her potential as a politician

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Wells Gray gets voice on provincial tourism council

TWG marketing manager Stephanie Molina recently appointed to Minister’s Tourism Engagement Council

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read