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  • Writer's pictureAHSABC

How Awasiak Achakos AHS is Pursuing AHSABC Component #2

Awasiak Achakos AHS is based in Kelowna, B.C., and works in partnership with Central Okanagan School District and their host agency, Métis Community Services Society of BC. Awasiak Achakos is licensed for twenty-five children, ages three to five. They have eight staff – ECEs, ECEAs, two part-time chefs, and a Programming/Care Plan Assistant.

“[Awasiak Achakos is] a really great place to come in learn,” Brenna Beattie, Awasiak Achakos Manager says. “We’ve really been trying to focus on that culture and language aspect of Headstart.”

At AHSABC we have Nine Key Components – Beliefs and Values, Culture and Language, Education, Health Promotion, Nutrition, Social Support, Parent and Family Involvement, Accountability and Management, Leadership and Staffing.

Component #2 is Culture and Language

This component's goal is to ensure:

  • that programs partnered with AHSABC provide a comfortable place for Aboriginal people.

  • Focus on the cultures and languages of children attending.

  • Provide opportunities for Elders, Knowledge Keepers to participate.

  • And apply Aboriginal cultural values and beliefs to all aspects of daily programming, governance and administration.

Brenna says they have several Elders who come into the program – Elder Maria, who enjoys teaching songs and drumming, and Kokom Helene. Kokom Helene has taught about tobacco and gifted the program ceremonial tobacco and ceremonial knowledge.

“That's one of the things we're really trying to work on this year is our Elder involvement,” Brenna continues. “Getting to know more Elders in our community versus just the few that we have right now.”

“[At Aboriginal Headstart we] want children to believe and be really proud of who they are and where they're found in their heritage,” Brenna explains. “So, that's something I really love about working for an Aboriginal Headstart…being exposed to the culture and having the kids experience it and outdoors.”

“I find we're outdoors a lot,” Brenna adds. “And I love it. I love being outside as much as we can.”

Awasiak Achakos AHS was one of the programs that received funding for playground upgrades, to encourage programs and the community to spend more time outside. “We have a beautiful space outside.”

“It’s very sweet like to watch them,” Brenna comments, saying that it is nice to see the children grow in their knowledge of protocols, and practices. “Like when we use the drums, they know the protocols like rubbing it…and thanking the animals and the people, and the trees for making the drum.”

“I find [the kids] are really drawn to the cultural aspects.”

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