Awahsuk Aboriginal Head Start Preschool

Awahsuk Aboriginal Head Start Preschool

The Awahsuk Aboriginal Head Start Preschool Program, which began in 1996, is funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada under the Aboriginal Head Start Initiative. Our Host Agency is the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association.
AHS is made up of the following components:

• Culture and Language
• Education and School Readiness
• Health Promotion
• Nutrition
• Social Support
• Parental Involvement

We work closely with our parents/caregivers who meet as a PAC once per month or more, and workshops/training are available to empower and support the families.

Awahsuk is a comprehensive program designed to meet the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical needs of Aboriginal preschool children (ages 3-5) living in the urban setting of Surrey.

Our Team facilitates a safe, non-judgment environment during the children’s formative years, encouraging holistic growth by understanding the importance of community, family involvement, cultural awareness, and respect.

The cultural curriculum is based on Coast Salish Territory and Hal’q’umi’num language teachings are part of the preschool curriculum. There is a respect for cultural diversity and all nations are valued and honoured.

The Awahsuk Preschool Program comes together in the summer to provide a full day Kindergarten Readiness Program. This program is designed to encourage a strong sense of identity and to prepare the children for the structures and routines of kindergarten.

For more information please contact:

Vanessa Hickman
Facility Manager
Awahsuk AHS Preschool
14589 108th Avenue
Surrey, BC
Office Line: 604-584-5527
Preschool Line: 60-584-4430

Meet the Awahsuk Dream Team!

Vanessa Hickman Facility Manager or 604-584-5527

Vanessa Hickman is Interior Salish from, ?Esdilagh First Nation (Alexandria Indian Band) which is located in Quesnel BC. Vanessa is an Early Child Care Educator and has been working with Awahsuk AHS Preschool since the project began in 1996. She started off as an ECE and in 2002, and became the facility manager. Awahsuk is the only licensed AHS Preschool currently serving Surrey, BC.

Vanessa lives in Coquitlam and is married to Martin, and together they are raising their 2 teenagers, Nick 17 and Liv 14, both Aboriginal Head Start graduates. 

Vanessa was recently nominated and the successful recipient of the BC Aboriginal Child Care Recognition Award, for her commitment and dedication to Indigenous families and their children in early childhood education.

Vanessa is passionate about best practices, inspiring classroom environments and seeing the children who come to Awahsuk preschool are thriving. It’s important to Vanessa that our children have a positive sense of self, are connected to their culture and have the best start possible in their educational journey. 

Angela George Early Childhood Educator

Clint Kjar Aboriginal Supported Child Development Worker

Sarah Latham Aboriginal Supported Child Development Worker

Oscar the Great Awahsuk Mascot

Carolyn Bernard Senior Educator or 604-584-4430

Mabel Wilson Aboriginal Supported Child Development Worker

My name is Mabel Wilson , I am from the Kwakiutl Nation on Vancouver Island my mom and Grandparents were from Alert Bay , and My Dad was from Fort Rupert. I come from a large Family, Wilson and Wadhams. I have 6 siblings. I wasn't raised their. I've resided a majority of my life on the lower mainland. I have 3 children , and 3 Grandchildren. Being a young mom and having a huge family helped me to pursue a career in early childhood development. I decided to go back to school later on in life at NEC to complete my ECE, after my children were grown and moved on. I enjoy watching all children learning through laughter and play. I have been with Awahsuk Preschool for 5+ years now . I was a support Teacher for the first 4 years,  and was offered a temporary job as a teacher this year . Between the two job titles, both are rewarding of course, but I truly believe my passion is teaching preschoolers . Watching their development and growth is very rewarding for me. My hope is to continue on teaching with aboriginal children as long as the creator will have me to.