February 5 , 2019 (Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, AB) – Alexis’ youngest students got a peek at their new Head Start program space after it was officially opened with the help of Chief Tony Alexis, Council members and Government of Canada officials.
“Our future leaders are starting their education journey with a strong foundation. The renovation and addition to the Mne Koodi Head Start Centre provides a safe, accessible place for the needs of all of our youngest members,” said Chief Tony Alexis.
“The Head Start program is an important stepping stone for our children to build successful futures and strengthen their spirit.”
The Government of Canada provided $1,088,276 for renovations and the expansion of the Mne Koodi Head Start Centre in Alexis. The new space is accessible for mobility challenged persons, it’s energy efficient and includes 64 square meters of added space to the building. This provided an office, entrance, kitchen and quiet room for children with special needs.
“Our government is working together with the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation to create welcoming, stimulating and inspiring learning environments,” remarked Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Reagan. “With the completion of facility upgrades and the grand opening today, First Nations children will have a better learning experience, with supports for language and culture, allowing them to reach their full potential.”
It’s the 20th anniversary of the Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve (AHSOR) program, having started in October 1998. Alexis also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Head Start program in the community on February 2, 2019.
The Mne Koodi Head Start program offers children in the community a place to grow that is safe, healthy and peaceful. The program is in place to support and assist parents in nurturing their child with the best developmental and educational opportunities in the first five years, using heritage traditions and contemporary methods. This includes teaching the Stoney culture as a foundation and incorporating nutrition and exercise into each day.
The Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve (AHSOR) program has been providing culture and language services and supports that allow children to develop a sense of belonging and identity as a First Nations person, and to learn and retain their First Nations languages. The program has six components: education, health promotion, culture and language, nutrition, social support, and parental/family involvement. Projects funded under AHSOR are designed and implemented by First Nations communities to meet their specific needs.