Parents, educators, politicians and community members are looking for ideas to get NWT children on the right track for their education. One of the most-often asked questions I get from parents and early childhood educators is how to give children a solid foundation for lifelong learning.
Since parents are their children’s first teachers, I usually suggest activities that they can easily do together at home like singing and rhyming, playing games, dancing, going out on the land, storytelling, and of course reading together! This is how our new project, Dream, Play, Grow began.
The goal is to support NWT parents by giving them some resources to welcome their new baby, and give babies a strong start in life, including literacy development. We are providing the existing Baby Bag and Baby Box programs at NWT birthing centers with books and some of the NWT Literacy Council’s resources.
Reading to your baby is a great way to develop strong language skills from the start. It helps build a rich and strong vocabulary, and teaches your baby new words and information about the world around them. Reading to your baby is also a great way to bond with your child, and spend time together.
We wanted a diverse collection of baby books to send to the birthing centers. We looked for books with northern themes, books written by NWT authors, age-appropriate books (this meant the majority of our books were board books), and books written in NWT Indigenous languages. We took suggestions from the people running the Baby Box and Bag programs. We’re happy with our selection so far, and looking forward to getting feedback from coordinators of these programs, as well as from parents.
Here’s the list of books we selected for Dream, Play, Grow so far.
- My Heart Fills with Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith
- We Sang You Home, by Richard Van Camp
- Little You (English and South Slavey), by Richard Van Camp
- Sweetest Kulu, by Celina Kalluk
- The Family Book, by Todd Parr
- Reach, by Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis
- Carry Me, by Rena D. Grossman
- Loving Me, by Debby Slier
- Goodnight World, by Native Explore
- Big and Small, by Native Explore
- Baby Faces, by Kate Merritt
- Creep! Crawl!, By Karen Pixton
- Nursery Rhymes Touch and Feel, by Roger Priddy
- Peek-a-Who?, by Nina Laden
- Red is Best, by Kathy Stinson
- Colors and Shapes, by DK Publishing
- Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
- Planes Go, by Steve Light
- We All Count (Cree), by Julie Flett
- Inuvialuit Nursery Rhymes (Siglitun, Kangiryuarmiutun, and Uummarmiutun), by Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre
We received funding from the Aboriginal Health and Community Wellness division of Health and Social Services for this project.
— Charlotte Upton