Early Years Programs

Indigenous-specific Early Years Programs in BC

  • Indigenous communities, families, and Elders from all regions of BC inform and partner with Indigenous-specific early years programs that are tailored in response to diverse community contexts and priorities.
  • Programs are embedded in local Indigenous and community cultures, languages, practices, and histories, and play a foundational role in (re)connecting families and children with their Indigenous identities, cultural practices, and languages.
  • Indigenous early years programs are also important sites for pediatric therapists to start building relationships with early years providers, Elders, families and children and to come to know a community.
  • Building such relationships over time is an essential is an initial first step in providing pediatric therapy and learning how to best support the health and wellbeing of young Indigenous children with developmental differences.
  • Pediatric therapists are encouraged to develop mutually respectful relationship with their Regional and Local consultants in the following programs in order to work towards culturally safe service provision.

AIDPs offer support to Indigenous families of infants who are at risk for or have been diagnosed with developmental delays. Programs are voluntary, family centered, and primarily focused on children ages 0-3 (in some communities 0 – 6). AIDP consultants support families by providing home visits, activity planning, developmental and family needs assessments and assist families in accessing health, social, and community services. To find an AIDP in your area: https://aidp.bc.ca/aboriginal-infant-development-programs-in-bc/

ASCD is a provincial program designed to specifically meet the needs of Indigenous children with special needs. ASCD enables children who require extra support to be included in a childcare, preschool or after-school setting when their parents or caregivers are working or going to school. To find an ASCD program in your area: http://ascdp.bc.ca/programs/

Aboriginal Head Start programs are culturally responsive early childhood and family wellbeing programs for Indigenous children and their families. Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC) is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada. To find an AHSUNC in your area: https://www.ahsabc.com/copy-of-meet-our-ahs-programs. The BC First Nations Head Start (BCFNHS) On-Reserve Program is funded by the First Nations Health Authority.

For Indigenous families raising their children in urban communities, Friendship Centers provide a hub of intersectoral resources, supports and services to support family wellbeing and children’s early health and development. There are 25 Friendship Centers in BC. Building relationship with and learning about their programs can enhance pediatric therapists connections with Indigenous families. Some Friendship Centers are also contracting their own pediatric therapists. For more information: http://www.bcaafc.com