Research and experience have demonstrated that early childhood development (ECD) is integral to future outcomes. Quality ECD programming contributes to healthy growth and development, as well as school readiness and success. Given the legacy of colonialism in Canada, access to culturally relevant ECD programs can play a key role in bridging gaps in life-chances between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children.

In the summer of 2014, Canada’s Public Policy Forum launched a national initiative to improve ECD in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities. Building Leaders: Early Childhood Development in Indigenous Communities involved a series of roundtable discussions with ECD practitioners, policymakers, academics, and community leaders in different regions. This report highlights positive developments, common challenges, and key recommendations shared by roundtable participants. Through this project, the Public Policy Forum is reviving a critical national dialogue that has been dormant for the past decade.

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