Aboriginal Head Start Program

Northwest Territories

Welcome to NWT Aboriginal Head Start

Aboriginal Head Start (AHS) is a preschool program for First Nations, Inuit and Metis children and their families living in urban centers and large northern communities.

Aboriginal Head Start centers in the Northwest Territories provide comprehensive experiences that prepare Dene, Metis and Inuit preschoolers between 3-5 years of age for their school years by meeting their spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical needs.

We believe that our Aboriginal children have distinct cultures and languages and share common beliefs, values and histories. Our Statement of Beliefs and Values about children was written to reflect our views and is incorporated with all of our northern AHS centers.

Our Program Principles help create a learning environment that is based on caring, creativity and pride following from the knowledge of our traditional community beliefs, within a holistic and safe environment.

There are eight AHS centers in the NWT: Hay RiverFort Smith, YellowknifeRae-Edzo (Behchoko)PaulatukFort ProvidenceInuvik, and Fort McPherson. Over two hundred children in the Northwest Territories attend each year.

Each center strives to revitalize Aboriginal culture and language. Our staff works hard to provide Aboriginal children with a positive sense of themselves, a desire for learning and opportunities to develop fully as successful young people. The centers are locally designed, controlled and administered by local non-profit Aboriginal organizations and involve parents and the community in the management and operation of the program.

There are six Program Components: Aboriginal Culture and Language; Education and School ReadinessParental InvolvementHealth PromotionNutritionSocial Support.

A vital component of the program is the teamwork required to make the program a success and the importance of encouraging parents to participate. Elders play a strong role too. They are invited to visit the center throughout the year to teach the preschoolers about traditional skills.

If you would like to contact any AHS center, please consult the AHS directory for the appropriate names, telephone numbers and addresses.