Awahsuk AHS


Who Are We?
The Awahsuk Aboriginal Head Start preschool opened in 1997. Awahsuk started out in a leased facility however is now located in a residential property in Surrey, B.C. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to obtain one-time only enhancement funds to make rezoning and renovations possible.

In August 2004, we underwent significant change at the host level. The AHS program was now facing challenges of meeting the needs of new management and board members with an entire new vision. Regrettably, due to contractual requirements that were unable to be fulfilled, these immediate challenges resulted in a preschool closure in the spring of 2005.

One year later the Public Health Agency initiated a Request for Proposals process in order to recruit a new Aboriginal Agency to take on the role of the Host. In June 2006, Kla-How-Eya Aboriginal Centre of Surrey Aboriginal Cultural Society was selected as our new Host Agency. In 2012, this organization became the Fraser Regional Aboriginal Friendship Centre. Some previous staff was provided an opportunity to come and work with the children and their families in this community. We have now created our Awahsuk Family and have long time staff members who are committed to creating a community based center for Aboriginal families in Surrey.

Aboriginal Supported Child Development
We feel honored to have access to Aboriginal Supported Child Development with in our program. The Aboriginal Supported Child Development program works towards an inclusive learning environment which fosters respect and appreciates the unique personality and individual learning style of each and every child.

Elders and Cultural Teachers
We are also hounoured to work with the Elders and Cultural Teachers that have shown such commitment and dedication over the past decade. The children, families and staff have ongoing weekly opportunities for pow-wow dancing, drumming, traditional teachings, smudging, dancing and learning about what it means to be an Aboriginal Person. Early childhood teachings about culture are key in ensuring identity, heritage and realizing the important values and wisdom that our Elders carry. All children that graduate from Head Start are honoured with there very own Regalia which is considered very symbolic and significant. The children feel so much pride when they receive their Regalia. Being in an urban setting many of our families come from all different Nations. The staff at the preschool recognizes the importance of honouring the land that we are standing on, which is Stolo (Fraser Valley), Kwa-Kwa (New Westminster), Semiamhoo (White Rock) and Katzie First Nations (Pitt Meadows and Barnsten Island, all in which have land claims on the land in which the preschool is on. This year we will be learning about the Halq’eme’ylem language. We are very fortunate to have staff and Elders join our children in teaching them the Halq’eme’ylem language.

Classes
We currently run a 4 year old class and a 3 year old class to better accommodate the domains of development

Our 4 year old class is:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
From 9:00-1:00

Our 3 year old class is:
Tuesday and Thursday
9:00-11:30

Parent Advisory Committee
We have a newly formed Parent Advisory committee since the re-opening of the Head Start Program. The staff believes that Aboriginal Head Start is meant to be parent driven and strive to have a positive partnership that supports Aboriginal children to grow and develop, feel good about themselves and to promote life long learning.

Contact
14589 108th Avenue
Surrey, BC V3R 1V6
telephone: 604-584-5527