Confident Learners Initiative

Our initiative is about building children’s confidence in learning by strengthening their literacy development during their first four years at school. Confident Learners is a whole-school and whole-community program of training and research aimed at increasing the capacity of educators, volunteers, parents and other community members to support the development of literacy skills of Aboriginal children.

A key feature of this initiative is a clear description of a sequential step-by-step “pathway” approach to learning how to read. Each skill is directly linked to one or more learning activities that enable children to proceed on the literacy pathway. Teachers have the opportunity to include learning activities that support and build pride in First Nations culture. The initiative incorporates a continuous approach to assessment that follows children’s development step by step on the literacy pathway, such that teachers, parents and community members can regularly celebrate their children’s success.

The Confident Learners initiative also includes a professional development program for principals and teachers aimed at increasing their knowledge of the science of literacy skill development and its application in schools serving First Nations students, a training program for mentors, aides and volunteers that support children’s literacy development and resources for families and communities to support their children’s literacy development.


Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Research Team


  • Doug Willms
  • Robert Laurie
  • Norma Barron
  • Karen Branscombe
  • Peter Cullen
  • Helene Devarennes
  • Robert Dunn
  • Agnes Flanagan
  • Rose Grattan
  • Matthew Gwathmey
  • Allyson Haley
  • Paul Lang
  • Anne Laurie
  • Dr. Ariana Loff
  • Dr. Kevin O'Connor
  • Dr. Gene Oullette
  • João Pereira
  • Lisa Pollock
  • David Riddle
  • April Rodgers-Sahib
  • Robert Sharp
  • Dr. Lucia Tramonte
  • Dr. Ana Paula Simões Do Vale


Confident Learners