Inside the Pirurviapik Childcare Centre

Inside the Pirurviapik Childcare Centre
Posted on 11/23/2022
Inside the Pirurviapik Childcare Centre

This fall, the new Pirurviapik Childcare Centre has provided a space for Inuit infants, toddlers, and preschoolers to grow and learn through culturally enhanced programming. The Centre, which opened in September, is located at the OCDSB’s Rideau Hub and operated by the Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families.

Pirurviapik Childcare Centre – which means “a place to grow” in Inuktitut – currently welcomes 49 Inuit children. Inuit early childhood educators provide opportunities for the children to connect with their culture. They explore Inuit ways of life through activities like making snow goggles, eating Inuit country food, and building igloos out of play materials. 

The space and lessons integrate the Inuktitut language, and these activities will help grow the children’s Inuktitut vocabulary, which is expected to reach 200 words by the age of two, as well as supporting literacy skills in English and French. Activities are guided by Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit Principles (IQ Principles), the foundational concepts of Inuit knowledge and practices. These principles include respect and care for the land, animals and environment, respecting others, relationships and caring for people, and development of skills through observation, mentoring, practice and effort.

The space was renovated and redesigned by CSV Architects. It features Inuit art, a colour palette inspired by the northern lights, a polar bear hide, and a large playground to support outdoor play.

This new Centre is an important step in the District’s relationship with Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families, a long-standing partner in providing culturally relevant programming for Inuit students in OCDSB schools. It complements the Bridging the Gap program, which sees Inuit cultural workers visiting classrooms to provide teachings and activities related to Inuit culture. The centre also complements the existing Kindergarten program in partnership with Robert E. Wilson Public School.

This $1-million Centre was supported by the City of Ottawa, the Ontario government, and the OCDSB. Robert Melesky, OCDSB Facilities/Planning Officer, provided support in helping to establish the Centre, and District staff attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony in September. 

The Rideau Hub – the site of the former Rideau High School – is also home to the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Centre, Odawa Native Friendship Centre, and other community organizations and supports.

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