The Calgary Board of Education’s 2014-2017 Three Year Capital Plan outlined a future student accommodation plan which included the development of a facility to meet the needs of Aboriginal students, families and community. Alberta Infrastructure announced funding for the modernization of Harold W. Riley School for this purpose (CBE, 2013).
Community involvement and input were important contributions in the design and development of the Aboriginal Learning Centre. The Elder’s Advisory Council, community Elders, establishment of a community advisory team, which included numerous members of the Aboriginal community agencies, contributed to the accommodations process and design meetings that helped create the vision of the Aboriginal Learning Centre.
The creation of the Aboriginal Learning Centre as a unique setting honours the intent of offering programming focused on early intervention for younger Aboriginal learners, ages 3-8, that may or may not have identified challenges. Vision of programming at the Aboriginal Learning Centre would “be a place of holistic support and healing for families while providing high quality early learning and intervention for young children” (CBE, 2015). We want our students to build a strong academic foundation in a learning environment that reflects and nurtures their Aboriginal identity.
By providing our students the best possible start to their educational journey and supporting school-to-school transitions when students move from the Aboriginal Learning Centre, our goal is to improve Aboriginal students’ long-term success in school and prepare them to live in both worlds.
The Aboriginal Learning Centre will become a learning hub for the greater Calgary-area community, as well as for CBE staff and students. It will be a gathering place for Aboriginal Ceremonies, cultural celebrations, programs and events. We want to deepen community, staff and student knowledge and understanding of First Nations, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures, contributions and ways of knowing.
Registration is open for 2016-17 school year for preschool/Early Development Centre, full day kindergarten and Grade 1 at the Aboriginal Learning Centre at Valley View School for more information 403-817-3404 http://www.cbe.ab.ca/aboriginallearningcentre/