top of page

What is AHSUNC?

Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC)

Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC) is an early intervention preschool program designed for urban and northern (off-reserve) Aboriginal children in Canada. There are 12 programs located throughout British Columbia. AHSUNC receives funding and support from the Public Health Agency of Canada.


The primary goals of AHSUNC are to support the early childhood development of Aboriginal children and to instill pride in their Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) heritage. Programs in BC focus primarily on 3 – 5 year olds as licensed preschools.


The AHS program is guided by Principles and Guidelines which were developed by Health Canada and the National Aboriginal Head Start Council in consultation with the Aboriginal community across Canada including parents, Elders and other community members. They serve as the basis for comprehensive AHS standards of service delivery.

Six Components of AHSUNC


The foundation of the AHSUNC programs are the ‘Six Program Components’  which are taken from the Principles and Guidelines.  These are: 

  1. Culture and Language 

  2. Education and School Readiness

  3. Health Promotion

  4. Nutrition

  5. Parent and Family Involvement

  6. Social Support


The AHS preschools operate under the direction of Parent Advisory Councils (PAC). Parents and guardians become members of their program’s PAC, making decisions about school functions, fundraising, parenting skills training and learning to advocate for their children. PAC meetings provide an atmosphere where parents feel welcome and appreciated for their involvement. Many find that participation helps them build community and new relationships with peers.


Supporting parents and guardians to become active participants in the preschool program is a unique strength of the AHS program, fostering their growth into effective leaders and role models in their children’s lifelong education.


To learn more, download the free Narrative Report compiled in 2010 to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of AHSUNC in BC.



WATCH OUR VIDEO: 20th Anniversary Celebration of AHSUNC

bottom of page