Our Mission

We are dedicated to providing comprehensive early learning experiences for Aboriginal children between two and a half  (2.5) and five (5) years of age.  We recognize that children are our most valuable resource, as they are the future generations.  The program is based on caring, creativity, and pride, which flows from the knowledge and traditional community beliefs, all within a safe, nurturing, and holistic environment.  It is our primary goal to demonstrate that locally controlled and designed intervention strategies can provide Aboriginal Preschool children, in Urban Northern settings, with a positive sense of self, a curious desire for learning.  We strive to provide choices and opportunities for participants to fully develop and succeed to their best potential.

Download our brochure (.docx format)

What is it all about?

We are a unique, licensed, school-readiness, early learning program that serves families and children within the town of Fort Frances and surrounding area.

The Head Start Program is geared for children 2.5-5 years of age who are from Aboriginal descent and are preparing to enter school.  This program teaches children school-readiness skills and is designed to meet the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical needs of young children.

The curriculum is planned and focused on six (6) specific components: Education; Culture; Language; Health; Nutrition; Parental Involvement; and Social Support.

Free Programming

  • September to June, 8:20 am-3:20 pm Monday to Thursday full day programming
  • Nutritious breakfast, lunch & snacks are provided
  • We are Licensed by the Ministry of Education
  • Our program is fully staffed with qualified Early Childhood Educators, a qualified teacher and a Social Service Professional

Free Services

  • Speech and Language
  • Developmental Assessments
  • Dental Screening and Fluoride Treatments
  • Parent Workshops
  • Social Supports
  • Specific program support and referrals through The United Native Friendship Centre

Our Guiding Principles

  1. Support and nurture the growth of the child;
  2. Encourage education;
  3. Support parents and guardians as the primary teachers and caregivers of their children;
  4. Empower parents to play a major part in planning, developing, operating and evaluating the program;
  5. Recognize and support the role of the extended family in teaching and caring for children;
  6. Include the community as part of the program throughout all of its stages, from planning to evaluation;
  7. Ensure that the program works with and is supported by other community programs and services; and to
  8. Ensure that human and financial resources are used in the best way possible towards measurable and positive outcomes for Aboriginal children, their parents, families and communities.

The Aboriginal Headstart Team includes:

Angela Siemens, AHS Coordinator

Charity McMahon, AHS Teacher

Classroom Assistants

Brenda Witherspoon-Bedard, Resource Worker

Angela Fiset, Driver/Maintenance

Mindy Taschuk, Cook


Zaagi-idiwin Aboriginal Headstart

308 Butler Avenue
Fort Frances, ON
P9A 2N9

Early Learning Program Lead:

Charity McMahon  


Tel: (807) 274-7244
Fax: (807) 274-8500 


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