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New native day-care service

Nevada Nettagog, 3, really enjoys his surroundings at Shki Biimaadizwin Kinoomaadwin, the new First Nations day-care centre.
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Nevada Nettagog, 3, enjoys arts and crafts at the new Shki Biimaadizwin Kinoomaadwin day care at the Jubilee Family Resources Centre on Applegrove St.

Nevada Nettagog, 3, really enjoys his surroundings at Shki Biimaadizwin Kinoomaadwin, the new First Nations day-care centre.

Nevada and his mother were present at the official launch of the day care for native children under five years of age Tuesday afternoon.

The day care, which has 10 children currently enrolled, is open Tuesdays from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm, in the Jubilee Heritage Family Resources Centre at 189 Applegrove St. "This program benefits my son. He really enjoys coming here. He learns to interact with other kids his age," said Darlene Nettagog.

"There is an emphasis on nature culture and teachers here. It is very good for Nevada that he is part of this learning," she said.

The day care is a partnership with Jubilee Heritage Family Resources and the Shkagami-kwe Health Centre in Sudbury, said Eve Kremyr, executive director of the Jubilee organization.

"The executive director of the health centre said our organization could provide child care, while they worked with families in different kinds of programs. We started with one evening every two weeks while the parents were in a support group at the health centre.

That grew into community kitchens where parents can plan menus, cook, have lunch together, socialize, then take food home. That was followed by the children's program here where parents could leave their children," said Kremyr.

Despite a lot of demand for their services, the native day-care program could only have five children until it was licensed in September.

"Now that we have the license, we can have 10 children while parents are going to medical appointments, work or school or other duties at home. All education is focused on what happens in the children's lives.

We also promote the skills children need to develop that helps them when they do attend school," said Kremyr.


Although there are other First Nations day-care programs in Sudbury, Shki Biimaadizwin Kinoomaadwin is the only program where parents are integrated into the program.

The parents participate as a support circle for the program, for its support workers and, of course, the kids.

"That helps the kids do a variety of activities, arts and crafts, play time, visits to Science North or to a pumpkin farm in the fall. Traditional people come in to visit with the children, and we hope to include elders into the program. There also is an older children's drum group that we expect the younger ones will enjoy," said Carol Anne Cheechoo, program co-ordinator of the day care.

Cheechoo said there is room for expansion of the program. "We do have a waiting list. There is definitely a need."