The Quebec Native Friendship Centre Movement feels it is necessary to offer the Indigenous people of Quebec planned, concerted and culturally respectful initiatives that develop integrated services to favour school success at all levels, be it elementary, secondary, college and university, or professional training and general adult education.
For Indigenous people, learning is not limited to the classroom or defined by graduation rates. Instead, it encompasses the knowledge acquired over a whole lifetime from family and community. A holistic perspective of school perseverance and success makes it possible to consider all the connections Indigenous people have with school success. The Friendship Centres’ approach and guidance meet this need.
For more than 10 years now, our Centres offer learning support services in a culturally safe setting that complements the educational activities of over 20 elementary and high schools in the Quebec English- and French-speaking school system. Every year, over 100 Indigenous students receive services that are specifically adapted to the urban Indigenous reality and respectful of cultural specificities. These are offered as complements, and do not replace schools’ or parents’ responsibility.
Learning assistance supports school and stimulates students’ interest and motivation.
It fits into a broader program of socio-cultural activities to develop pride in urban Indigenous children. In addition to providing concerted academic help, learning support services strengthen Indigenous children’s identity and develop their self-esteem, which is a variable influencing school motivation.
These services contribute to the school perseverance and success of urban Indigenous students by fostering a sense of belonging to the community, offering individualized support from Indigenous workers, focussing on developing students’ autonomy and self-esteem, valuing Indigenous identity in children, and supporting families so they, in turn, better support their kids. The homework assistance service plays a much broader role than just school support.
The Native Friendship Centre’s learning support services are rounded-out by various recreational, social and fun activities. These help workers forge trust-based relationships with the children and their families. The Centres encourage activities that stimulate artistic creation, cultural transfer, reading, writing, and parents’ and families’ involvement. Family and recreational activities are also organized for pedagogical days. Supporting children all year long, in cooperation with their parents and valuing Indigenous culture all foster educational success.
French-language tool developed by the Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre
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