KidsU Program

Dechinta’s model of program delivery is innovative and responsive to the needs of diverse learners. We offer a setting where families can learn together through our Chekoa Nı̨ htł’èkǫ ̨̀ Deè (KidsU) program, where children are invited to attend semesters with their parent(s) and learn on the land. This has become one of the most vital components of our Dechinta model as many students, particularly single mothers, opt to bring their children with them. This also provides a platform for strengthening family bonds.

Why We Created the KidsU Program

To Provide Accessible and Culturally Safe Programming for Indigenous Kids and Youth

In a study conducted to inform the development of Dechinta, lack of childcare, cost, and not wanting to remove children from culturally safe and relevant environments was the number one reason Indigenous women in the NWT cited for not attending, or dropping out of, post- secondary schooling. In response, Dechinta offers integrated K-12 childcare during programs at no extra cost. Our KidsU program is rooted in child-led learning and the Dene Kede curriculum.

To Address the Gendered Barriers Many Indigenous Women Face When Accessing Post-Secondary Schooling

The burden of childcare disproportionately impacts Indigenous women. Dechinta’s KidsU program works to remove the gendered barriers to post-secondary education that Indigenous women often face. By supporting Indigenous women, communities are able to confront and change many of the barriers to success that Indigenous women face, including lower levels of health indicators such as lack of access to education, high un-employment levels, domestic violence and a lack of affordable childcare. By supporting Indigenous women with the tools to be able to participate in informed conversations on issues that affect them directly, we are helping to strengthen their sense of place and pride in where they are from and to make positive changes for the betterment of the entire community.

To Create a Family and Community-Centered Learning Environment

After ten years, we feel the integration of childcare into our program and the resulting family and community centered learning environment is one of the key elements in making post- secondary education accessible to First Nations and Inuit students. Family centred, Indigenous-led and land-based post-secondary education creates healthy communities, healthy families, and a resilient economy.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more about the KidsU program and how it is currently running!