PROGRAM OUTCOMES: PERSONAL AND COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATIONS

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In the program evaluation, First Nations partners emphasized that certificates and diplomas are not the ultimate criteria for measuring the 'success' of the training programs. They expanded program outcomes to include a range of personal and community transformations.

Capacity increased in our community not only because all but one of the students finished the whole program, but also because parents will be able to take advantage of employment and training opportunities now that there is a good daycares right here. And the Generative Curriculum Model meant that our values and language will be integrated into the daycare program, so that the children's capacity to use our language and know our culture will be stronger.

Christine Leo, employment and training director, Mount Currie First Nation

In all of the communities, success was gauged by the positive overall development seen in students - even in those who did not complete the whole program, and in community mobilization and organization to improve conditions for children and families. Most important was the fact that 95% of program graduates remained in their communities, thereby strengthening community capacity to provide culturally appropriate services for children and families. As many evaluation participants noted, there are few, if any, benefits to the community when students either go away to attend university and don't return - or come back, in the words of an Elder, "as strangers with alien ideas."

The overwhelming majority of program graduates, responding to open-ended questions about their experiences of the training program, reported direct effects of program participation including:

  • enhanced self-esteem;
  • restored cultural identity and pride;
  • improved parenting effectiveness; and
  • greater self-confidence with respect to their abilities as learners and as leaders in the field of children's services and children's development.

Overall, program graduates viewed 'success' in terms of both academic achievements and their emerging roles as community advocates and respected resources for family members and friends.



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First Nations child

Program instructors linked the training program to:

  • positive growth in students' critical thinking, communication skills, and self-confidence;
  • social cohesion, particularly among students within the cohort and between students and elders;
  • cultural revitalization; and
  • cultural healing.

Instructors attributed many of these changes to the cohort-delivery of the program. Regular meetings together in a facility (typically one large room) used especially for the program provided the time and space to develop a climate of cultural safety in discussions, to provide reliable support in working through memories of childhood traumas and loss of cultural identity, and to build sustainable networks of friendship and community leadership. Instructors cited the integral participation of Elders in curriculum development and teaching as the catalyst both for new or rekindled intergenerational relationships and for reinstatement of traditional social structures the ensure cultural transmission.

Community-based administrators, Elders and intergenerational facilitators identified 'ripple effects' within their communities. Their comments addressed the broad theme of capacity building, including:

  • empowerment arising from the community's sense of ownership and involvement in all stages of the training programs;
  • enhanced advocacy for programs to support the well-being of children and families; and
  • the legacy created by new services introduced by program graduates.

Program Outcomes, collage Program Outcomes, collage
Program Outcomes, collage Program Outcomes, collage