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Manitoba Métis Federation opens newest childcare centre in Dauphin

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) is celebrating the opening of its newest childcare centre, Michif Children's Place, in Dauphin. Submitted / Manitoba Métis Federation

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) is celebrating the opening of its newest childcare centre in Dauphin.

The MMF officially unveiled Michif Children’s Place at a ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this week.

“Really I think people feel a sense of relief. There’s a place, we got an opportunity, we can look now at coming out post-COVID,” said MMF President David Chartrand.

“People are going to be looking at, ‘I got to get back to work, I need to get there, I need to have a place to put my child.'”

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) is celebrating the opening of its newest childcare centre, Michif Children’s Place, in Dauphin. Submitted / Manitoba Métis Federation

The facility has 65 spaces accommodating up to eight infants, 42 toddlers and 15 preschoolers, and will employ about 25 people full-time.

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Chartrand says it will also offer both parenting and cultural programs.

“Language is going to be taught, Indigenous languages. Super Dad, Super Kids, they call them, programs are going to be put in place,” Chartrand said.

“Land-based knowledge is going to be attached to it where we’re using our elders to take them on trips to understand the environment … so we’re going to start teaching them at a young age about the importance of the land, the basic importance of the environment, (and) water.”

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Michif Children’s Place is just the latest in the MMF’s plans to build about 15 childcare centres across the province, including in Brandon, Thompson, The Pas and Winnipeg.

The first already opened in Duck Bay and another ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in November for the next one in Saint Eustache.

Chartrand says the MMF is working to provide child care training for between 250 and 300 people over the next several years to help staff the facilities.

Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand (left) during the official ribbon cutting for Michif Children’s Place in Dauphin. Submitted / Manitoba Métis Federation

“If small communities don’t have the population base for daycare centres, what we’re doing that’s different and unique also is we’re privatizing homes. We’re actually training families at their houses to become daycare centres in small villages,” Chartrand said.

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“We’re really spreading our services in the context of trying to meet all the needs of our citizens.”

The childcare centres are crucial, Chartrand says, in helping to lift people out of poverty.

Read more: Manitoba Metis Federation reaches settlement with feds on Kapyong land issue

“My mom never went one day of her life into a school classroom … but she knew education was important,” Chartrand said.

“She made sure we never missed school. Because I think even though she never had an education she knew education was a way out of poverty. We started at a young age as we are with childcare programs like this. We’re giving kids a hell of a head start that we never had.

“At the end of the day, once you have an education, no one can ever take it away from you.”

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