“Let us put our minds together and see what we can make for our children.” Sitting Bull (Tatanka Yotanka)
Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities• The primary goal is to provide Aboriginal children with a positive sense of themselves, a desire for learning, and opportunities to develop fully as successful young people.• AHS projects prepare young Aboriginal children for their school years by meeting their spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical needs.• Projects are locally designed and controlled, and administered by non-profit Aboriginal organizations.• AHS directly involves parents and the community in the management and operation of projects.• Parents are supported in their role as the childs first and most influential teacher, and the wisdom of elders is valued.
AHS Values and Beliefs about Children• That adults are community role models who are to teach children how to live a good life.• That children deserve opportunities to gain knowledge and experience of how to live a good life.• That children acquire knowledge by watching, listening and doing, and adults are responsible for encouraging and guiding them in all those activities.• That children, through being loved, valued and encouraged, will gain the courage, the strength and the wisdom to use the power of a good mind and spirit in all that they do.• That children have a right to enjoy the opportunities that education offers.• That children have a right to live in healthy, self-determining communities that are free of violence.
Program Components• The focus of each AHS project is on Aboriginal preschool children and their families and includes programming in each of the following six program component areas. – Culture and Language – Education and School Readiness – Health Promotion – Nutrition – Social Support – Parental and Family Involvement
Culture and Language• The purpose of the Culture and Language Component is to provide children with a positive sense of themselves as Aboriginal children.• To build on the childrens knowledge of their Aboriginal languages and experience of Culture in their communities.• Projects enhance the process of cultural and language revival and retention, with the ultimate goal that, where possible, children will aspire to learn their respective languages and participate in their communities cultures.
Education• The purpose of the Education Component is to support and encourage each Aboriginal child to enjoy life-long learning.• Projects will encourage each child to take initiative in learning and provide each child with enjoyable opportunities to learn.• The ultimate goal is to engage children in the possibility of learning so that they carry forth the enthusiasm, self-esteem and initiative to learn in the future.
Nutrition• The purpose of the Nutrition Component is to ensure that children are provided with food which will help meet their nutritional needs.• Another goal is to educate about the relationship of nutrition to childrens ability to learn, physical development and mental development.• Mealtimes provide opportunities for sharing, teaching and socializing.• The ultimate goal is to empower children and parents to develop or enhance nutritional eating habits that will be maintained following the childrens AHS experience.
Parent Involvement• The purpose of the Parental and Family Involvement Component is to support the parents and familys role as childrens primary teachers.• This component provides the opportunity to empower parents to bring forth gifts and further develop as role models for children and in their communities.• The ultimate goal is for parents and caregivers to complete the program being more confident, and assertive and having a deeper understanding of their children than when they began the program.
Health• The purpose of the Health Promotion Component is to empower parents, guardians, caregivers and those involved with AHS to increase control over and improve their health.• More specifically, the projects will encourage practices for self care, working together to address health concerns, and the creation of formal and informal social support networks.• The ultimate goal is for those involved with AHS to take actions that contribute to holistic health.
Social Support• The purpose of the Social Support Component is to ensure that the families are made aware of resources and community services available to impact their quality of life.• The project assists the families to access resources and community services.• The ultimate goal of this component is to empower parents to access assistance and services which will support them to be active participants in their childrens lives and AHS.
AN OUTCOME ANDSATISFACTION EVALUATION OF THE MANITOBA ABORIGINAL HEAD START PROGRAMIN URBAN AND NORTHERNCOMMUNITIES: 2009-2010
Objectives For Children In The Program:• Become more aware of their Aboriginal cultures• Better able to communicate in their Aboriginal languages• Increased strength, balance, and coordination• Increased levels of confidence and independence• Increased levels of curiosity• Increased problem-solving abilities• Increased abilities to share, take turns, and co- operate with other children• Increased knowledge of the letters of the alphabet• Increased knowledge of numbers (numeracy)
Objectives For Parents And Other Family Members• Families will report improved attitudes toward physical activities• Parents will report improved abilities to select healthy foods at the grocery store• Parents will report improved knowledge of proper nutrition• Parents will report improved abilities to prepare healthy meals• Parents will report improved awareness of available community and parenting resources• Parents will report an improved ability to use local community and parenting resources• Parents will report improved parenting skills• Parents will report improved abilities to detect health issues early on, in part, related to their children’s vision, hearing, and dental care
PROFILE OF THE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN THIS STUDY Child Gender in MAHS Evaluation Outcomes Females 187 Males 226
Aboriginal Ancestry in Outcome EvaluationFirst Nations (Treaty) 71% Metis 22% First Nations Non-Aboriginal (Non-Status) 0% 1% 6%
Languages Spoken in Children’s Homes Other 1.4 Lakota 0 Dakota 0.5 Dene 0.7 Michif 1.4Saulteaux 1.4 French 1.8 Ojicree 3.6 Ojibewe 7.9 Cree 20.4 English 91.4
EVALUATING CAREGIVER AND FAMILY INVOLVEMENT IN THE PROGRAM
EVALUATING CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENT AND SCHOOL-READINESS
Quotes “It has made him a more • “I love the benefits of them confident child, more learning numbers, letters and aware of his culture. In sharing before they’re in nursery and kindergarten. all there is no downside. When he started school his It’s a wonderful teachers were impressed he program.” already knew a lot of things.” “Teaching the mothers at the• “A great strength I find is her program how to better interaction with other children. communicate with their I see her learning to share children and giving them more and more, and have great surroundings to have excellent manners with other fun in. Head Start also children. I see this, because it is taught me how to cook a how she comes home and lot of meals in the kitchen.” treats her younger brother.”
The Manitoba Aboriginal Head Start Staff “The program’s greatest “Having a great teacher who is able to be sensitive to all strengths would to be the children’s individual the Early Childhood needs, and knowing what Education workers. each child needs. The staff They help the children are doing a great job.” learn new things daily.” Thank You to all the“The program has great dedicated staff you staff with good have impacted 15 communication skills. years of growth in My child loves their communities! attending Head Start”
The Funders and the Sponsors• To our funders Public Health Agency of Canada we thank your for your support and continued advocacy to keep Aboriginal Head Start strong for the children, the parents, and our communities.• To our sponsors we thank you for believing in this initiative 15 years ago and making it a reality for the communities.
To the Parents Thank you to all the parents who believed in the Aboriginal Head Start program in Manitoba.You trusted us with your most precious children and let us in. It is your love and continued encouragement that has given your children the tools to move forward and succeed.
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