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News Release

January 14, 2013
For immediate release

Government of Canada Supports the Health, Well-being and School Readiness of Aboriginal Children

Fact Sheet: To promote the health, well-being and school readiness of Aboriginal children

(Lethbridge, Alberta) – Jim Hillyer, Member of Parliament for Lethbridge, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Nunavut, announced funding for a project to provide a culturally enriched preschool readiness program for urban Aboriginal children between three and five years of age living in Lethbridge.

MP Jim Hillyer gets a high five while meeting with
children and Teacher Assistant, Ann Jirousek-Tail
Feathers following an announcement of $550,000
in Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern
Communities Funding to the Opokaa'sin Early
Learning Centre.

“The Government of Canada’s Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities program is proven to improve children’s school readiness and enhances their knowledge of Aboriginal culture and language,” said Hillyer “By investing in this invaluable project we are helping to give children a good start in life.”

Today’s announcement will support the Opokaa’sin Early Learning Centre project led by the Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society. This project seeks to enhance school readiness of Aboriginal children entering kindergarten.

“Children who attend this program develop a positive sense of themselves, a desire for learning and opportunities to develop fully as successful young people,” said Tanya Pace-Crosschild, Executive Director, Opokaa’sin Early Learning Centre. “Parents and caregivers play an important role in helping to foster their child’s health and social development by taking an active role in their education.”

This project is funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC) program. The program provides significant annual funding to community-based projects focused on early childhood development for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and their families living in urban and northern communities across Canada. Each year the AHSUNC program reaches 4,800 children who attend one of the 131 Aboriginal Head Start sites across Canada.

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