The Elawsimgewei Gina’muo’guom isn’t just your typical education institution when it comes to adult learning, it’s a safe haven and a place for students to learn about themselves and grow as individuals. As the name loosely translates, it’s a place where lifelong learning occurs.
Bella Moffat is the Academic and Guidance Counsellor and Co-Manager of this First Nation Regional Adult Education Centre right here in our community. Moffat is the first person potential adult learners meet with to discuss the next step in their education journey. “My goal is to identify the individual’s career goal or what the goals are, and it’s whatever is in the best interest of the adult learner,” said Moffat. Once the staff can establish the individual’s goal, then they can work together to determine the best path to take for success. The staff recognizes that many of these individuals are in different stages of their lives, and once they make that first step to further their education, the staff will guide them the rest of the way.
There are various programs offered at the Elawsimgewei Gina’muo’guom such as high school diploma, general development test (GDT), academic upgrading, and more. The staff at the centre understand that each adult learner is different, which is why they offer a different approach when it comes to teaching. The style of courses is switched up to keep things interesting for the adult learners. “We try to base our courses on the needs of the adult learners,” Moffat said. The courses are a mix of self-paced learning, land-based learning, Mi’gmaq learning, and theory, but also feature a lot of hands-on learning activities such as horticulture and cooking classes.
The atmosphere is very laid back and welcoming. The centre takes pride in its relationships gained with the adult learners. Each person is treated in a mature, respectful manner and their comfort is the number one priority. Moffat said she wants the adult learners to feel loved and respected when they come through the door. The staff are very eager to support and guide the adult learners throughout this stage of their life.
In addition to the relaxed, self-paced teaching structure, the centre offers various incentives and fundraising for activities, events and holidays. The centre offers transportation to the adult learners, breakfast and lunch programs, and even weekly self-care activities in the building.
The Elawsimgewei Gina’muo’guom consists of a staff of eight, and the programs are run from September to June. To find out more information on the centre, contact Bella Moffat, or Administrative Technician and Co-Manager, Myrna Sook. More information can also be found on their Facebook page.
-By Ann Marie Jacques