The Departments of Education, Culture and Employment and Health and Social Services have numerous programs focused on children and families across the NWT. 

Early Childhood Consultants in every region are ready to help communities and individuals help develop relevant programs. You can find a contact list for these consultants here.


Executive Summary of Programs and Services


The Early Childhood Program supports early childhood education and care programs for children 0-11 years of age.  These programs provide play-based exploratory environments that support children’s development and where required, enable parents to access employment or training opportunities.

Over the past year, ECE has reviewed the Early Childhood Program (ECP) funding to identify ways to better support licensed early childhood programs in the NWT. Click here to access the information kit containing an overview of the ECP funding changes.

Early childhood education and care programs are delivered in a variety of settings, including centres and family day homes. Programs include full and part time early childhood education programs, preschool programs and after school/out-of-school programs. 

If you’re a parent with children who aren’t old enough to go to school and you need to work, you might be looking for a Day Home. Or you may have thought about starting your own Day Home to earn income by caring for other children during the work day. Whether you’re looking for a Day Home or thinking about starting your own, the Government of the Northwest Territories has information to answer your questions.

There is money to help interested parents and care givers start their own Day Home or Early Childhood programming. Funding provided through the Early Childhood Program includes:

  • Start Up funds – these funds assist operators to acquire required items such as insurance and equipment in order to open.
  • Operating funds – these funds are provided to assist with operating expenses.  Allocations are based on which community the program is located in, and the number and type of spaces being provided.  Funds are distributed on a quarterly basis based on actual attendance of children in the program.
  • Minor Health and Safety Renovation funds – these funds are available to assist with minor renovations required by either the Office of the Fire Marshall or the Environmental Health Officer to comply with regulations. 
  • Rent/Mortgage funds – these funds assist programs that incur rent or mortgage expenses.  Up to 25% of a lease or mortgage agreement may be supported.

You can find information about how and why to become a licensed Day Home operator here


The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) is a community-based program that promotes public health and provides support to improve the health and well-being of pregnant women, new mothers and babies.  Major components of the program are:  nutrition screening, education and counseling; maternal nourishment; and breast feeding promotion, education and support.


The Healthy Family Program is a voluntary, intensive, home visitation program for young mothers and new parents. This early intervention program promotes the importance of the nurturing parent-child relationship aimed to increase the child’s developmental opportunities and foster positive interaction for improved outcomes in the child’s future. 


The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Programs aim to support and deliver FASD awareness, prevention and support to communities. These programs are designed to reduce the number of babies born with FASD, and to support children and youth who are diagnosed with FASD.


Breastfeeding programs promote and support public health and health care efforts to make breastfeeding the normal method of infant feeding in the Northwest Territories for at least the first year of life in order to provide proven benefits to the mother, infant, and society. 


Oral health promotion is delivered at the community level by Dental Therapists, community health representatives, wellness workers, and day care operators.  Existing oral health campaigns for ages 0-6 include Little Teeth are a Big Deal and Lift the Lid


The Health Promotion Fund supports community-based projects to improve health and wellness, promote healthy lifestyles and reduce preventable diseases.  The Fund provides community-based small scale project funding to assist communities working on tobacco harm reduction and cessation, sexual health, healthy eating, active living, healthy pregnancies and injury prevention.  The Fund also supports projects for babies, children, youth, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and their families.  Non-profit organizations in the NWT who have health promotion ideas are encouraged to apply. 


The Department of Health and Social Services is the lead on major initiatives related to healthy eating, and works in partnership with other departments (such as ECE), organizations and agencies in support of ideal growth and development, the reduction of childhood obesity, increased access to healthy foods and food skills for families, etc.


Injury Prevention is one of six pillars under the Healthy Choices Framework, and includes a broad range of activities.  GNWT departments and agencies collaborate through an interagency injury prevention working group. The group identifies and implements initiatives to build awareness, knowledge, and skills with the goal of reducing unintentional injuries among infants and children.


The Maternal Health program provides care to women from pre-conception to six weeks postpartum.   The Infant and Child Health program includes all children from newborn to school entry, including pre-kindergarten screening and immunization.  The program includes breastfeeding support, immunization, infant/child physical assessment, growth monitoring, hearing and vision screening at school entry, parent education on child nutrition, safety and growth, and development.   


Rehabilitation services help to improve and maintain the functional independence of children and adults with impairments resulting from injury, chronic disorders or disability.  Services are provided in a range of settings including the home and health service agencies, and can include assessment, treatment, intervention and education. 


Respite care is the provision of short-term, temporary relief to those who are caring for family members who might otherwise require permanent placement in a facility outside the home.  Respite programs provide planned short-term and time-limited breaks for families and other care givers of children with a developmental delay or disability in order to support and maintain the primary care giving relationship. Respite also provides a positive experience for the person receiving care.



Child and Family Resource Centres consist of integrated and collaborative programs and services such as parenting education, nutrition programs, rehabilitation services, respite, toy lending, library resources and home visiting programs. 


Regional early childhood consultants provide educational training to early childhood educators to help develop their skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to promote the well-being of children, families and communities.  The training is on an ongoing and on annual basis according to regional needs of the children and families. 


Family literacy refers to the many ways families learn together.  Parents and caregivers are their children’s first and most important teachers.  Some examples of family literacy are: writing a thank you note, going out on the land, learning about culture and traditions, making bannock together or sharing stories before bedtime. The NWT Literacy Council provides family literacy training, develops resources and support communities to develop family literacy programs.


The Healthy Children Initiative (HCI) provides funding to support communities to enhance existing early childhood programs and services.  The vision of the initiative is Healthy children born to healthy parents growing up in strong and supporting families and caring communities.  Community organizations can use funding to expand programming targeted to young children, provide supports directly for parents, or to provide opportunities for communities to be involved in promoting healthy child development.


A Language Nest is an immersion-based approach where young children acquire their traditional Aboriginal language naturally in immersion settings.  As older speakers of the language take part in an early childhood program, intergenerational language transference occurs. In the NWT, Language Nests facilitate language learning by promoting the language skills of community Elders, children, parents and grandparents.

Language Nests operating in the NWT provide varying degrees of Language immersion opportunities for young children. The levels of immersion within a program are relative to the availability of early childhood educators who are fluent in their Aboriginal language and the availability of language speakers in the community to participate in the program.