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.
Since 1995, AHSUNC has provided long term funding to Aboriginal community-based organizations to develop programs that promote the healthy development of young Aboriginal preschool children. 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 and works to benefit the health, well-being and social development of Aboriginal children.
There are 133 AHSUNC sites serving over 4,800 children and their families living in urban and northern communities. AHSUNC sites typically provide structured half-day preschool experiences for Aboriginal children (3-5 years of age) focused on six program components: Aboriginal culture and language; education and school readiness; health promotion; nutrition; social support; and parental involvement.