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Government Of Canada Supports The Health, Well-being And School Readiness Of Aboriginal Children

Through the Public Health Agency of Canada's Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC) program, the Government of Canada invests $32.1 million annually in 131 community-based sites focused on early childhood development reaching 4,800 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and their families living in urban and northern communities across Canada.

Opokaa'sin  Early Learning Centre Preschool Readiness Project

Today's funding announcement of close to $550,000 will support a project led by the Opokaa'sin Early Intervention Society to provide a culturally enriched preschool readiness program for urban Aboriginal children between three and five years of age living in the Lethbridge area.

About the Project

The Opokaas'in Early Intervention Society will:
  • Deliver a program for urban Aboriginal children and their parents or caregivers to attend four times a week.
  • Engage participants in activities to improve school readiness, enhance knowledge of Aboriginal culture and language, and improve health and nutritional practices.
  • Provide parents and caregivers with parenting support and skill-building information to encourage active involvement in their child's education.

Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities Program

The AHSUNC program was established in 1995 to support the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical development of Aboriginal children, while also supporting their parents and guardians as their primary teachers.

AHSUNC sites provide structured half-day preschool experiences for Aboriginal children focused on six program components:

1) Aboriginal culture and language, 2) Education and school readiness, 3) Health promotion, 4) Nutrition, 5) Social support, and 6) Parental involvement.

The Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Community program has demonstrated that locally controlled and designed early intervention strategies can provide Aboriginal children with a positive sense of themselves, a desire for learning, and opportunities to develop fully as successful young people.

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