Aboriginal Head Start

About Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities

The Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC) Program is a community-based children’s program delivered by the Public Health Agency of Canada. AHSUNC focuses on early childhood development (ECD) for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and their families living off-reserve.

The program began in 1995 and has had a major impact on the children, families and communities that have participated. It was established to support the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical development of Aboriginal children, while supporting their parents and guardians as their primary teachers. It addresses general health concerns in vulnerable populations and works to benefit the health, well being and social development of Aboriginal children.

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

  • aboriginal culture and language,
  • education and school readiness,
  • health promotion,
  • nutrition,
  • social support, and
  • parental involvement.