Erin Pauls - Dusk'a Head Start Family Learning Centre
Year: 2017 – Province: Yukon Territory
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Dusk'a Head Start Family Learning Centre
47 McIntyre Drive
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 5A5
Type of setting: Family Learning Centre, children aged 18 months to 5 years
A hunter and fisher, Erin Pauls is from the Wolf Clan and identifies and Tahlltan and Tlingit and is a member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations. She demonstrates leadership in cultural excellence and encourages cultural opportunities through rich reciprocal relationships with Elders and the community.
Philosophy of care
Pauls believes that children learn through rich hands-on experiences and play – especially in outdoor environments. Passionate for her culture, she strives to incorporate Indigenous culture in every aspect of her teaching.
Support of child development
- Supports her staff in taking children on field trips to the fire department, parks and swimming pools, the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and the Salmon Fish Ladder.
- Partners with the local schools to allow her students to visit and experience kindergarten classroom environments before moving on.
- Personally facilitated traditional dancing, drum making, rattle making, regalia making, elders program, family luncheons, and "handle with care", which is a parenting program that promotes children’s mental health.
Involvement with parents, families and the community
- Pauls maintains strong relationships with community providers to ensure that children with special needs receive the required support.
- Committed to the revitalization of the Southern Tutchone language, Pauls hosts language lunches with special guest speakers. She also works to provide her students with exposure to the language through visits with Elders, books and tapes.
- Opens up the centre’s fire pit to families every Friday morning to tell traditional First Nation stories and enjoy bannock on a stick.
"It takes a community to raise a child, and Erin Pauls has dedicated her life to the health, education and wellbeing of all of the children she meets. She isn’t someone who just talks about how things can or should be better, she is a catalyst for positive improvements and change within the Yukon and across Canada."
"Erin’s focus and enthusiasm drives her ability to bring First Nations culture and language to the children at Dusk’a Head Start."
- Date modified: