Source: Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC. Editor: Annie Jack
Summary: The start of kindergarten can be both an exciting and worrisome time for children and families as they step into new worlds, new beginnings. For Aboriginal children and families, the transition to kindergarten can be experienced much differently from their non-Aboriginal counterparts. This is in large part due to the lengthy history of oppression and marginalization that Aboriginal people have experienced in their relationship to formal schooling systems. Yet, early learning programs that respond to the social and historical realities of Aboriginal families offer the potential and promise to connect them with schools in positive ways.
The Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia, representing 12 Aboriginal Head Start (AHS) sites in urban and northern communities in BC, is committed to supporting the early childhood development of Aboriginal children. The preschool program instills pride in their Aboriginal heritage and focuses on children 3 to 5 years of age, with the intent of bringing them to the school readiness stage in order to ensure an easy transition in to kindergarten. Family involvement is a major factor contributing to the success of the program. Aboriginal Head Start represents one of the important ‘stepping stones’ that will lead families on their continuing journey with learning.