Students are currently taking the Early Childhood Care and Education certificate program at the repurposed Tlucha Children’s Center in Esowista. (Nora Martin photos)
Fifteen students from the Ucluelet, Mowachaht/Muchalaht and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations are taking an 11-month Early Childhood Care and Education certificate program at the repurposed Tlucha Children’s Center in Esowista. There are 13 woman and two men in the class, including eight of the students from Tla-o-qui-aht.
Iris Frank, TFN Education Manager, was successful in obtaining funding from the federal government and the BC Jobs Grant for the course. Iris stated that “there is a serious lack of qualified childhood care providers on the West Coast,” adding that offering this course will open up possibilities to work in daycares in the area. There are currently four daycare centres on the coast that need qualified ECCE’s.
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and North Island College (NIC) have partnered together to deliver the ECCE program in the community of Esowista. Theresa Gereluk, NIC Instructor is teaching the course.
According to Iris and Theresa, when students have opportunity to remain in their communities to attend educational programs the completion rate is higher than if they had to relocate.
Prerequisites for the course includes English 12. Each student was assessed by NIC, and to ensure that they qualified the college provided night school at Tlucha Children’s Center in Ty Histanis Monday to Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m.
Iris stated that the students were very dedicated and worked hard to get their English 12. Final exams for English Grade 12 were on April 11.
Orientation for the course started on March 29 and class started on April 3. The course will run until the end of June, break for the summer months before resuming in September, and finish in June 2019. Course content for the first semester includes health, safety and nutrition.
Upon completion of the course students are expected to do 200 hours of practicum. Placements for practicum will be at the Tlucha Children’s Center in Ty Histanis, and at the daycares in Tofino and Ucluelet.
Lack of Housing had been deemed as an issue in the Tofino and Ucluelet area for those seeking employment in the Nuu chah nulth Central Region, however TFN is in the process of completing the construction of five single family and 16 bachelor container units that will be available early summer of this year.