Makoonsag Intergenerational Children's Centre

See how the Makoonsag Intergenerational Children's Centre is making a difference in the community by providing daycare to children, while their parent attends the Urban Circle Training Centre located right next door.

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Transcript: Makoonsag Intergenerational Children's Centre

Dawn Shanski, Executive Director- Makoonsag Intergenerational Children's Centre

Makoonsag Intergenerational Children's Centre is an Aboriginal-based daycare in the North End of Winnipeg and it's right next door to Urban Circle so it caters to the parents that are going there…

Urban Circle Training Centre is associated with Red River College and it's an adult education centre, and they do a couple of different programs throughout the year.

Leah Keeper, Urban Circle Training Centre student – Makoonsag Parent

I'm going to Urban Circle right now and I'm taking the Health Care Aide course…

…I'm living at home with my baby and she's going to Makoonsag.

Eleanor Thompson, Director of Development, Urban Circle Training Centre

Many students were taking three buses to get their children to childcare before they came to school and they had been telling us for a long, long time they wanted a place to have their children close to them.

Makoonsag itself is the vision of our Elder Stella Blackbird who saw an opportunity for intergenerational activities that would bring families back together.

Stella Blackbird, Elder of Makoonsag Intergenerational Children's Centre

What came in the vision was we needed a daycare… and that daycare wasn't to be like any other daycare…but it had to be very special…

We want the children to be close to the Elders, their Aunties, the Workers, their Uncles and Grandmas, Grandpas.

Dawn Shanski, Executive Director- Makoonsag Intergenerational Children's Centre

Makoonsag is an intergenerational centre, meaning that at any given point during the day we have multi-generations coming and learning with one another.

Stella Blackbird, Elder of Makoonsag Intergenerational Children's Centre

In our ways there's no generation gap…

…we lived in tipis, tents, one room… we were all together…

…we all listened to one another and we heard one another… this is that experience I want to see happen because I had that till I went to… was taken away at 5 years old.

Eleanor Thompson, Director of Development, Urban Circle Training Centre

The mandate for Makoonsag is that there is a place for Aboriginal people in this area of the city to bring their children so that they can learn from the very beginning and reclaim their strong cultural identity… it also of course fills that urgent need of parents to have their children close to them, and so they can be with them at any time…

We have 52 children in the Makoonsag Centre… 12 infants and 40 preschool children.

We are integrating indigenous knowledge into every aspect of the daily activities that the children are involved in…they smudge in the morning…they are learning drumming and singing…they are learning their language…they are learning about ceremonies…

…it's a circle of life and they're involved in every aspect of traditional culture.

The elders knew what was needed in our community and we were able to follow their vision…

…the success is that children from the earliest age, from infancy can grow up knowing who they are, and be proud of who they are.

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