Early Words NWT

Early Words NWT

We're thrilled to introduce our new project called Early Words! 

Early Words, a program by the Canadian Children's Literacy Foundation, connects healthcare providers with resources that will help families to foster early literacy skills. By providing evidence-based training, developed with literacy and healthcare experts like the Canadian Paediatric Society, Early Words aims to strengthen early brain development and foundational literacy skills through collaborations with clinics, hospitals, and communities. It offers coaching and modelling to families during healthcare and family visits, and provides books to encourage reading at home.  

The program is having a significant impact across Canada, including  in Nunavut.  Now, we are bringing it to the NWT with financial and in-kind support from the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT).  

The NWT Literacy Council is working together with the Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation and the Government of the Northwest Territories Health & Social Services (HSS) Team to form a Northwest Territories chapter of this amazing program and to create resources on brain development for families. Some of our key goals in the NWT are increasing the connection between caregiver and child, building strong attachment, and kickstarting a joyful journey of literacy from birth.

Thanks to funding from the GNWT Health & Social Services Department, we're laying the groundwork for the Early Words program's expansion in the NWT. Following a successful soft launch at Yellowknife's Baby Expo, and a trial clinic in Inuvik, we're actively engaging with families, conducting key informant interviews and resource scans, and gathering community input through online surveys and visits across the North.

What does this mean for you if you are a parent with young children in the NWT? Early Words provides:


  • Conversations about early literacy support with families at healthcare appointments and in early learning programs such as the Healthy Family Program. 
  • Practical resources to keep things going at home.
  • High-quality children’s books that are linguistically and culturally relevant.
  • Support for connecting families with community resources and programs that deepen early learning practices.

Stay tuned for our upcoming online survey where you can win prizes by sharing your thoughts on brain development and connecting with your child. Your input will shape better resources for families across the NWT!

•    Christine Lewandowski-Shannon, Project Specialist: Early Words

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