The community of La Ronge will be receiving the first Northern Family Literacy Hub.
The hub is being established by KidsFirst North and a partnership with the nisto ihtāwina Early Years Family Resource Centre where it will be located.
The location is planned to work with schools, libraries and families with children ages six and under in the tri-communities of La Ronge, Air Ronge and Lac La Ronge Indian Band to provide family literacy programs, services and support.
Services planned to be offered include books that reflect the language, culture and environment of the North, and the opportunity for students to carry on Elders' tradition of drumming while storytelling, as they gather around a large drum and play it together while building their literacy skills.
The La Ronge location will be one of mine provincially-funded literacy hubs across the province, with other existing hubs in locations including Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Rosetown, Lloydminster, Prince Albert and Saskatoon.
Over the pandemic, the hubs have offered virtual programming, lending out laptops, supporting parents with learning at home, building literacy kits for families and leading physically distanced and outdoor events, such as story walks.
In a statement, the ministry of education said that the newest hub is the ministry’s response to an identified need in northern Saskatchewan.
The need was determined by data including early learning readiness, Grade 3 reading levels and immigration trends.
"Literacy is so important for children's learning and development, and parents really are their child's first teacher,” said Dustin Duncan, the province’s education minister.
"Saskatchewan's Family Literacy Hubs offers great supports - even during a pandemic. It is inspiring to see how these hubs have continued to serve families."
A spokesperson for the ministry said that since the north is such a large region, it was decided La Ronge would be the best place for it to be centered, that way it could serve several communities while refining their services for a northern audience.
“KidsFirst North was chosen because of their history in early literacy services and existing presence in northern Saskatchewan,” the ministry said. “Once the family literacy hub is established in La Ronge, other areas of the north may be considered for expansion should an opportunity arise.”
The Saskatchewan provincial government has invested $425,000 in Family Literacy Hubs in the 2021-22 budget.
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal