The Early Years

The Early Years supports Indigenous innovation, resilience, and know-how by working with communities and organizations to co-develop programs that optimize early childhood development.

About the program

Every child in Canada deserves the opportunity to reach their highest potential, but despite sustained efforts by Indigenous communities, historic underfunding of essential services has led to substantially poorer health and educational outcomes, substandard housing, high unemployment, and the over-involvement of child welfare services.

To break this cycle, we believe that Indigenous communities must have direct control over their own services. Indigenous parents must be honoured and held up as their children’s first, best, and most important teachers. We are committed to working alongside communities, leadership, and governments as they navigate existing funding structures, create sustainable service infrastructure, and develop early learning programs.

  • 180

    people trained in the Early Years course

  • 1,891

    children impacted by the program 

  • 50

    local Elders and Knowledge Keepers interviewed to inform programming and training

The Impact

The future of any society depends on its ability to nurture the healthy development of the next generation. By providing a variety of catalytic supports to Indigenous communities across the country, the Early Years is accelerating and amplifying their efforts in the process of change.

2022 Annual Report

By connecting expectant parents with experienced mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles, and grandparents, we are working towards a healthier future for Indigenous children.

Our Role

Locally based staff at organizations that partner with MFI use early childhood research and expertise from Indigenous leaders to support families across the country through pregnancy, the toddler years, and the first years of school. An external advisory committee and the knowledge of community and organizational leadership offer ongoing guidance.

Related articles

See All

Explore MFI’s virtual learning hub called The Training & Resources for Early Education & Schools (TREES) Network. TREES is a space for delivering and accessing culturally appropriate training, professional development, resources, supportive circles and peer mentorship opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous learning professionals working with Indigenous children, students and families.