APTN National News
A Yukon teacher was recently honoured with one of the highest awards for an educator for her dedication to bringing southern Touchone culture into the preschool.
Erin Pauls sometimes teaches by singing.
“They just dance as hard as they want. It never gets old. They just love it,” said Pauls.
Pauls heads up the Dusk’a Headstart at the family learning centre for the Kwanlin Dun First Nation in Whitehorse.
Earlier this summer, Pauls was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for excellence in early childhood education. The award is given to those who’ve shown leadership, outstanding early childhood education practices along with displaying a commitment to help build the foundation children need to make the best possible start in life.
“We work really hard to give a cultural and linguistic base here and it’s really well received,” she said.
The Dusk’a school is known for its holistic programming to prepare preschoolers for kindergarten.
“As we see in Canada today, the graduation rates are much higher for non-First Nation people than First Nation people,” said Pauls. “We focus on the whole child: their nutrition, their spiritual being, the language, their culture and their families.”
The Aboriginal Head Start program is nation-wide with 134 communities providing similar community based programming.
Its purpose is to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners.
But here at Dusk’a, it’s the beat of the drum from the teacher to student that is building a foundation that will last a lifetime.