The AECEO’s mission is to build and support a strong collective voice for early childhood educators across Ontario.
Guiding Committee on Truth and Reconciliation
In keeping with its vision and mission, AECEO is dedicated to ensuring First Nation, Métis and Inuit educators have equity within the organizational structure and are positioned to take the lead in responding to all matters related to their specific communities.
The Guiding Committee on Truth and Reconciliation was established in follow-up to a 2017 AECEO Board of Directors meeting in which members passed a unanimous decision to make an active commitment to participate in, and support processes of reconciliation with First Nation, Métis and Inuit. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action will direct the work of the Committee in addressing colonial frameworks governing organizations that have historically failed, and continue to fail, Indigenous children and their families. It is in this context that the AECEO takes up the responsibility to examine its own policies and practices that create barriers for Indigenous members in assuming decision-making and leadership roles within the organization. It is also incumbent upon the AECEO to ensure there are equitable opportunities for Indigenous early childhood educators to influence systemic change and share their knowledges, traditions, and teachings with all ECEs and early years staff in Ontario.
AECEO Public Position Statement and Action Plan on Truth and Reconciliation
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada calls on Canada to educate all Canadians about Indigenous peoples to prepare them for the important work of reconciliation. A specific call for action in the TRC directs the federal, provincial, territorial, and First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation governments to “develop culturally appropriate early childhood education programs for Aboriginal families”. One response to this call, is a national Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework which “sets out a shared vision, principles and a path forward for Indigenous early learning and child care—a Canada where all Indigenous children have the opportunity to experience high-quality, culturally rooted early learning and child care programming”. Guided by this framework, the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontaro is actively committed to participating in and supporting the processes of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Ontario. As an organization, the AECEO’s role in reconciliation will be to:
- Acknowledge Indigenous self-determination and cultural reclamation by creating space for Indigenous peoples to bring forward their ways of knowing and being into early childhood education discussions and activities.
- Support and contribute to First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation priorities and strategic actions identified in the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework and any future changes to this Framework. The AECEO will adapt its efforts based on the most widely accepted and culturally responsive framework.
- Examine and change AECEO policies and practices that create barriers for Indigenous members to assume decision-making and leadership roles within the organization.
- Provide culturally inclusive and equitable opportunities for Indigenous educators to have their own voice within the AECEO.
- Establish and sustain an AECEO Guiding Committee on Truth and Reconciliation that is lead through consensus by Indigenous ECEs and leaders, Elders and non-Indigenous allies.
- Along side Indigenous communities, share Indigenous ways of knowing and learning with AECEO members and all early childhood educators and early years staff in Ontario.
- Advocate for post-secondary and in-service professional development institutions to include First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, ECE content, settler-colonialism and culturally appropriate curricula and to create opportunities for this curricula to be delivered by Indigenous peoples
- Support Indigenous and non-Indigenous employers and educators in moving forward with strategies to embed reconciliation initiatives in all aspects of programming.
- Guided by the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework, evaluate on an on-going basis the AECEO’s progress in meeting its truth and reconciliation goals and identify in what ways the organization is changed at a fundamental level.
For the purpose of this organizational statement, we draw upon the language used in the Indigenous Early Learning Child Care Framework. However, we recognize that Indigeneity is more complex than this terminology represents. When possible and in practice we ascribe to use the language which the individual/community uses to self-identify.