Hands-on Tools & Strategies
Need the tools to implement new strategies and ideas into your program? Why not try the hands-on approach by acquiring one of ARCQEs Resource Kits.
To access the Birch Bark Basket, Treasure Chest, and the Supporting Inclusive Approaches in Play (SIAP) Kits, you will need to purchase an ARCQE Resource Access Pass (RAP) card which works as a library card for borrowing the resources from an agency near you.
Birch Bark Basket
The Birch Bark Basket project promotes understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal societies in ways that are consistent with best and promising practices for young children. The Birch Bark Basket learning resources have been designed to help early childhood programs sensitively and appropriately integrate Aboriginal content (First Nations and Métis) into their day-to-day activities.
The Learning Resources consist of this Resource Guide and Resource Baskets for each of six topics: Storytelling, Game, Music and Dance, My Family, My Community, and Food and Nutrition. These topics were chosen because they reflect important aspects of Aboriginal culture and are topics that are commonly addressed in programs for young children. This makes it easy to integrate the activities and content into regular programming in ways that allow all children to see themselves and their heritage in their playroom or classroom.
For each topic, the Resource Guide includes information on cultural background, the learning principles involved, tips for planning and implementation, and activity suggestions. The materials are intended for use with children up to 12 years of age although not all activities will be applicable to all ages. We hope that the Birch Bark Basket resources will be an excellent support to your programming. The most important resources in integrating Aboriginal content, however, are the families and community in which you work. Aboriginal peoples are culturally diverse, even within each community, so it is important to seek the guidance of elders and other community leaders to find out what activities are appropriate and what resources are available in a particular community. Families, whether of Aboriginal heritage or not, can tell you about their cultural practices and knowledge as well as their hopes for their children’s cultural learning and sharing. These resource kits are available in all regions of the province. Please contact the ARCQE office (780-421-4930 or 1-866-429-4930) for information on R.A.P. cards.
Other National Aboriginal Resources
Kids’ Stop is a fun zone for kids loaded with information about Aboriginal history, culture and languages, games and stories, and classroom resources for teachers.
Walking Together: First Nations, Métis and Inuit Perspectives in Curriculum
The Walking Together curriculum was designed to help teachers understand the holistic nature of First Nation, Metis, and Inuit ways of knowing, to provide ways for FNMI Peoples to share their perspectives on topics important to them, and to demonstrate FNMI perspectives in teaching and learning experiences. The Walking Together resource offers information collected through discussions with Alberta’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities. The intention of this resource is to instill confidence in educators in infusing content and perspectives into learning and teaching activities with students.
The Treasure Chest project is intended to promote understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity in ways that are consistent with best and promising practices for young children. The project provides learning resources to support child care programs and family child care providers to sensitively and appropriately integrate cultural content into their day-to-day activities. The resources help programs provide children with the ‘mirrors’ to see themselves and their families outside of their own home and the ‘doors’ to move confidently out into other cultures. They complement the Birch Bark Basket resources previously developed by ARCQE to support the inclusion of Aboriginal content in programs.
The Treasure Chest learning resources consist of six baskets of materials and this guide. Each resource basket contains items that can be incorporated throughout a playroom or day home to encourage children to become comfortable with, and interested in, the diversity that exists in our society.The resource guide contains guidelines and suggestions for introducing and integrating cultural content.
The resources in the Treasure Chests were chosen to supplement those to which programs and providers may already have access. These include the professional expertise of early childhood practitioners, their relationships with families, items they already have in their programs, and resources they are able to collect or borrow.
The Treasure Chest materials are designed for use with children up to 12 years of age, although not all activities and items will be applicable to all ages. Practitioners will be able to use their own understanding of child development and their knowledge of individual children to assess the appropriateness of specific activities. Generally speaking, younger children will find meaning in activities that reflect their familiar world—the things they know and recognize from their lives with their families and friends—while older children will be ready to explore the world beyond.
The Treasure Chests include books, games and other items that provide a multicultural perspective along with some objects that are specific to particular cultures. However, the most important guides and resources for integrating cultural content are the families in the program. It is the families who can help programs and providers find community resources, select appropriate cultural activities, and contribute items that have meaning for their particular children.
We hope that the Treasure Chest resources will be an effective support to programs and providers who wish to integrate culture in an authentic, affirming manner that is appropriate to the population of children and families that they serve.
Supporting Inclusive Approaches in Play
ARCQE is pleased to share that in partnership with Alberta Education we have launched another curriculum resource series. This latest assortment of toys and materials is intended to provide resources for early learning and care service programs that support inclusive approaches in play. Further, to facilitate greater sensitivity and understanding of inclusion through enriched philosophical shifts in attitude, and integration of best and promising practices in our work and interactions with young children and their families.
The resource materials have been designed to complement the following 9 program areas: Manipulative exploration, Artistic expression, Music & Movement, Block Construction, Sand & Water, Socio-dramatic Play, Nature & Science, Math & Numeracy, and Indoor & Outdoor Spaces.
Each set is supported by way of a curriculum guide that provides information addressing best and promising practice relative to inclusion, learning stories that offer insight to practical application and supporting approaches, self-reflection questions, as well as a series of supporting activity sheets with suggestions for implementation of toys and resources. The name of this resource “Supporting Inclusive Approaches in Play” is intended to reinforce a ‘way of being’ (practice driven), rather than simply serve as a one-dimensional resource kit/tool. In this way, materials and resources provided support the beginning of what we hope will become a continuum of inclusive culture and best practice in supporting children and families. With an emphasis on “Play” rather than on disability, the focus then becomes centered on a common ground where all children can relate without barriers and limitations. One set has been created for every region and will be housed in community Out of School Care programs!