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Onashiwin Aboriginal Head Start Program

Selkirk Aboriginal Headstart Program
222 Manitoba Ave.
Selkirk ,Manitoba
Phone: (204) 482-6419 or (204) 482-6419
Fax (204) 482-1064

What is Aboriginal Head Start?
Aboriginal Head Start (AHS), funded by Health Canada, is an early intervention program for First Nations, Inuit and Metis children and their families living in urban centers and large northern communities. The primary goal of the initiative is to demonstrate that locally controlled and designed early intervention strategies can provide Aboriginal children with a positive sense of themselves, a desire for life long learning, and opportunities to develop fully as successful young people.

Aboriginal Head Start projects typically provide half-day preschool experiences that prepare young Aboriginal children for their school years by meeting their spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical needs.

Projects are locally designed and controlled, and administered by non-profit Aboriginal organizations. AHS directly involves parents and the community in the management and operation of projects. Parents are supported in their role as the child's first and most influential teacher, and the wisdom of elders is embraced. Typical AHS projects operate four days per week with 30-40 children aged 3-5 years old participating in morning and afternoon sessions in a structured preschool environment.

There are six key components to the program that are implemented on a regular basis. These are: culture and language, education, parental involvement, nutrition, and social supports.

Volunteers in the community donate a tremendous amount of time, and partnerships with existing services and agencies are vital to the success of projects. Health Canada regional offices work directly with projects to ensure program quality. The national office in Ottawa provides national coordination, leadership, training, evaluation and resources to the program. A National Aboriginal Head Start Committee provides guidance and expertise to Health Canada, and ensures project-level input on planning, implementation and evaluation issues.