Public Health Agency of Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

May 14, 2013 15:19 ET

Harper Government Supports Nunavummiut Children

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 14, 2013) - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Nunavut, announced funding for a project to provide capacity to expand the availability of preschool programs for children ages 3 to 5 years of age living in communities across Nunavut.

"We want children to achieve their full potential," said Minister Aglukkaq. "That's why we are investing to have qualified early childhood educators deliver culturally relevant programs that prepare Nunavut children for school and a good start in life."

Today's announcement will support the Capacity Building for Early Childhood Development Educators project led by the Nunavut Arctic College in partnership with the Government of Nunavut Department of Education and the Public Health Agency of Canada. This project will increase the number of early childhood educators to enhance programming under Aboriginal Head Start and potentially other educational initiatives.

"Today's announcement is a positive step forward for Nunavummiut seeking training and careers in early childhood education," said the Honourable Daniel Shewchuk, Minister Responsible for the Arctic College. "Early childhood development training opportunities will be made available across all three regions of Nunavut."

"Early childhood educators play an important role in helping to promote a child's health and social development," said Michael Shouldice, President, Nunavut Arctic College. "Over the coming months, the College will work to expand its highly successful education program across the territory in time for the school year."

This project is funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada's Aboriginal Head Start Strategic Fund which supports time-limited initiatives to expand program reach, improve access to training, and develop culturally and linguistically relevant tools and resources to enhance the quality and impact of the Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC) program.

The AHSUNC program provides annual funding to 131 community-based sites across Canada focused on early childhood development for approximately 4,800 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and their families living in urban and northern communities across Canada.

Également offert en français

FACTSHEET

To promote the health, well-being and school readiness of children

Through the Public Health Agency of Canada's Aboriginal Head Start Strategic Fund, the Government of Canada invests $3 million annually in support of initiatives that benefit the Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC) program.

Today's funding announcement of over $1 million will support a project led by the Nunavut Arctic College in partnership with the Government of Nunavut Department of Education to increase the quality and the availability of early childhood care and programming such as AHSUNC; and to establish an approach that will build early childhood development capacity across three regions in Nunavut.

About the Project

The Nunavut Arctic College will:

  • Provide community delivery of foundational Early Childhood Development courses and First Aid/CPR training to increase the number of qualified early childhood development educators;
  • Develop a pan-regional approach to building early childhood development opportunities and capacity across Nunavut.

Aboriginal Head Start Strategic Fund

The Aboriginal Head Start Strategic Fund (the Fund) was created as an enhancement to the AHSUNC program to support time-limited, strategic initiatives that benefit the program. Annual investments will be provided through the Fund until 2015.

Priorities of the Fund are to enhance the reach and improve the quality of AHSUNC programming by building early childhood educators capacity through increasing access to accredited early childhood development courses; developing culturally and linguistically appropriate resources; and developing new models of program delivery.

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.

By addressing the general health concerns of the Aboriginal population, the program's project sites have significantly benefited the health, well-being and school readiness of participating Aboriginal children and their families.

Contact Information

  • Health Canada
    Cailin Rodgers
    Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
    Federal Minister of Health
    (613) 957-0200

    Public Health Agency of Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 941-8189