Early Learning & Engaged Caregiving

A range of initiatives for Inuit children, youth, parents and caregivers that support skill development alongside Inuit societal values.

The goal of these programs is to hold space, work alongside and support the skill development of the next generation of strong and independent Inuit to live in accordance with Inuit societal values.

Piujuq Project (Pre-natal and New to Motherhood Program)

This program is designed for soon to be mothers and mothers of newborns/toddlers. It teaches parenting skills, prenatal & postnatal nutrition, caring for newborns, traditional Inuit childrearing practices, and sewing and cooking skills to care for and provide for their families. New mothers will learn cooking skills needed to feed their families and sewing skills to make an amauti to keep baby and mother warm during the harsh winters.

10-15 days
6-10 participants
Open to soon to be or new mothers
  Available all seasons

Ilitaqsiniq Early Years Program

A home visiting and health advocacy program to parents and caregivers in the community who have new babies aged 0-2. It is currently offered in Arviat and Rankin Inlet and will be expanding to Naujaat in the fall of 2023. The program also includes group gatherings and cultural activities with caregivers.

The Early Years Program is an innovative, evidence-informed program model that honours Indigenous parents as their children’s first and best teachers. Strong Indigenous families, homes and communities promote healthy child development, protect cultural identity and ensure long-term well-being outcomes. With this program model, we bring together community expertise and leadership across health, education and social services domains to address community needs and to build on the strengths of existing programs.

The program provides parents and caregivers with the tools and supports to uplift their families by weaving together Indigenous-led community innovation and trailblazing scientific evidence around early childhood development. Ilitaqsiniq also provides training and ongoing professional development for the Early Years staff hired to carry out the program. 

15 families per Early Year Visitor
Open to families with children under the age of 2
Available all seasons

Pinnguaqta – Early Childhood Education Program

Geared to child(ren) 0-6 and their caregivers, learning takes place through self-discovery and play with loving support and engagement from the caregivers. The program combines the teaching practices of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and Montessori to nurture family well-being and strengthen the family unit. An Elder and community coordinator guide the program.

25 participants
Open to all caregivers with children ages 0-6
Available September to June

Inuktituuqta (Inuktitut Day Camp)

This is a day camp designed for school age children which teaches and promotes Inuktitut language and literacy development. Children take part in cultural-based activities and work with guest instructors to support them to engage with the language in a meaningful way. Under the guidance of Ilitaqsiniq staff, youth act as camp leaders and serve as role models in using Inuktitut. Offered during school breaks.

4-6 weeks
Children in kindergarten to Grade 6
Summer and winter sessions during school breaks

After-School & Evening Program

This initiative provides wrap-around supports to students in grade K-6 and in junior high and high school with a focus on literacy learning and positive socialization. Youth act as program leaders and youth mentors under the guidance of Ilitaqsiniq staff.

The children and youth are provided with a warm, inclusive and safe place to engage in arts and crafts, play with modern and traditional toys and games, enjoy literacy-based activities and most importantly have the freedom to just be kids. Healthy snacks are provided. Each day features both planned events and free time for youth to play and engage with each other. This program promotes socialization and sharing.

The afterschool timeslot from 3:30 to 6:00pm is open for children in kindergarten to grade 6 and the timeslot from 6:00 to 8:00pm is open for youth in junior high and high school.

Children in kindergarten to grade 6 and students in junior high and high school
  Available fall, winter & spring


A program designed to give children and their parents/grandparents/role models the opportunity to participate in Inuit cultural learnings and practices together. It is designed to support parent/caregiver engagement and for caregiver and child to learn together and build family bonds. The program supports relationship building, strong connections and positive experiences shared by both the parent/caregiver and the child.

One version of the program allows participants to engage in traditional activities such as learning how to make fishing nets, ulus and panas (snow knife), kakivak (fish spear) and unaaq (harpoon). The program can include excursions such as boating and seal hunting trips, with opportunities to learn butchery skills, and participate in a firearm safety course certification. Another version of the program allows participants to learn beading, sewing, making palaugaaq (bannock), making mikku (dried caribou meat), qulliq lighting, butchery, skin prep/skinning, pisiit (traditional Inuit songs) and traditional cooking skills of natural resources (seal, fish etc.)

6 weekends
6-8 families: Children and caregiver/role model
Available all seasons

Ikajurniq (Youth Corps Project)

This program supports youth to develop and deliver a volunteer project for their community. The youth will generate ideas, assess community needs, evaluate their passions and skill sets and deliver/facilitate their project ideas. Youth will also build their skills with proposal writing, securing sponsors and supporters, locating facilities or rentals to deliver their projects, recruitment and advertising, community outreach and scheduling. This project consists of the youth engaging in 120 hours of volunteerism which can be applied to earn their high school credit in volunteerism.

120 hours of volunteerism
Youth aged 15-30
  Available all seasons

Hockey Literacy Camps

In partnership with Rankin Inlet Minor Hockey, the recreation coordinator and other local hockey specialists, we offer a weeklong hockey literacy camp for up to 200 children and youth. The program has also run in Arviat, Baker Lake, Kugluktuk and Iqaluit. The camp objectives are three-fold: developing leadership skills, specifically amongst Inuit males as the camp leaders; enhancing learning and essential skills for both participants of the program and the youth leaders; and building pride and confidence for all. The hockey camp focuses on leadership, personal growth, teamwork, setting goals and achieving them, communication skills, literacy development and hockey skills.

The Rankin Rock Hockey Camp was the recipient of the 2017 Arctic Inspiration Prize in the Youth Category. 

6 days
Children and youth ages 5-18
  Available all seasons