My Montreal: Aboriginal daycare flourishes in Verdun
MONTREAL - An aboriginal daycare is flourishing in the heart of Verdun.
The Rising Sun Childcare Centre caters to Inuit and other First Nations communities, but is open to all.
As with every Centre de la Petite Enfance (CPE) in Quebec offering $7/day childcare, its 80 spots were quickly allotted, and it has a lengthy waiting list.
The difference, according to director Alana-Dawn Phillips, is this centre satisfies a demand for aboriginal education.
"I think we were very hopeful it was going to be successful, within the aboriginal community and it has been its been very well received, but it's been very well received within the Verdun community," said Phillips.
"Parents want their children to learn about their language and their culture."
That's evident in one room, where children are immersed in Inuktitut, the Inuit language, for at least half the day.
For Leetia Kelly, that means her children will have the opportunity to learn the language of their people, something the woman raised in Montreal never had the chance to do.
"Years ago we didn't even have schools like this, so I went to school and learned what everyone else did," said Kelly.
Only one class is Inuit-specific, while 54 percent of the children have a First Nations heritage.
French and English dominate the other five classrooms, and parents like Ana Liano enjoy offering their children the opportunity to learn a third language, and get a better understanding of aboriginal culture.
"It's really enriching for my son," said Liano, who immigrated to Canada from Spain.
"I really want to give him a value in his life, to be open to cultures, to other people, different nationalities."