Pirurvik Preschool Provides a Different Approach to Education in Northern Communities -

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Pirurvik Preschool has been providing culturally specific education in Nunavut for several years, and recently began working with Business Sherpa Group, offloading administrative bookkeeping tasks to our experts to help them focus on programming. We sat down with the co-founder of Pirurvik to discuss their organization and what the future holds.

Tessa Lochhead and Karen Nutarak wanted to provide a different form of education for residents in Nunavut, one that was based on culturally specific learning that allowed communities to center their childcare practices around the importance of language. From that idea, the Pirurvik Preschool was founded, providing educational and cultural support to communities across the region.

Today, Pirurvik Preschool has partnered with 17 childcare facilities across Nunavut. Their program has been recognized for its mission and innovation having won several awards including the Governor General’s Award for Innovation in 2022 and the Arctic Inspiration Prize in 2018. Throughout their existence, the mission has remained the same: to provide quality early childhood education centered in cultural programming that allows communities to thrive in their language.

Pirurvik Preschool is run on trust, a model they’re proud of. Rather than seeking out partnerships, they utilize an approach that puts trust first; referrals and direct inquiries lead to Pirurvik Preschool being invited into a community when the community is ready. As a result, communities themselves have the say in the education provided. The bulk of the work the Pirurvik Preschool does is provide educators with the resources they need to support the people they work with and develop as skilled, autonomous professionals.

Responding to Change

Like the education sector across the rest of Canada, the pandemic put a strain on the lives of educators and kids alike. With internet access not being universal among households, resources for children to access were limited. For many parents, there was a fear of letting kids come to school, not wanting to put their kids at risk of getting infected with COVID-19.

Despite this, the Pirurvik Preschool continued to support childcare providers in several ways, from distance learning to establishing “book days” in which books were placed around communities for children to retrieve and read in a way that kept everyone safe with support from the Indigo Love of Reading Campaign. The Pirurvik Preschool worked hard to maintain a high quality of education, using what they learned to further develop their hybrid learning strategy should there be a greater need for it again in the future.

Business Sherpa Group Connection

Pirurvik’s programming is having an impact in the communities they support. We wanted to help spread the word about the meaningful work they do and with their permission, highlight the challenges they faced so that other similar organizations feel reassured, perhaps seeing their situation in Pirurvik’s example.

Often, when non-profits have an idea that starts taking off, they get preoccupied with administrative functions rather than delivering on the promise they set out to do. This was how our connection to Pirurvik initially formed. Business Sherpa Group was brought in to help, seamlessly joining their team to handle administrative tasks and bookkeeping, so that the Pirurvik Preschool staff had time to focus on growth and what they loved doing most – supporting communities.

The ease into technology and the experts that come with it have given staff at Pirurvik Preschool the capacity to focus on growing their channels of support, joining the Arctic Council to share their approach with other nations including demonstrating their programming to indigenous communities in northern Russia.

Recently, Pirurvik Preschool has sought the assistance of a business planner from Business Sherpa Group to help them grow strategically by identifying pain points/weaknesses for them to address and help support their growth plans. This advisor has provided a safe space for people to open up about how they’re feeling about the organization and where it is headed.

What Lies Ahead

Pirurvik Preschool continues to meet community leaders, working to decolonize education anywhere they are invited to do so. With Business Sherpa Group doing the administrative support behind the scenes, Tessa and her partners can focus on growing and developing their programming. The future is bright, with lots of announcements planned in the coming months. If you want to contribute or watch as they grow, check out their website.

If you or your business needs assistance sorting through the weeds of Bookkeeping, or if you want a business planner to help in the growth of your business, we can help. Contact us through the link below to begin the next phase of your business journey.

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