Aboriginal Head Start Program

Northwest Territories

Yellowknife, NWT

Done Necha-lia Gha Enitl'e Ko
Aboriginal Head Start Centre
Yellowknives Dene First Nation
Box 2514
Yellowknife NT X1A 2P8
Tel: (867) 669-0975
Fax: (867) 669-7762

Welcome to our website! The Done Necha-lia Gha Enitl’e Ko, Ndilo Aboriginal Head Start Program is located in Ndilo, Northwest Territories. Our Program opened in April 1996 and since then over 500 children has attended our program. We are administered by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, a member of the Akaitcho Treaty 8 Tribal Council.

The Aboriginal Head Start program provides an opportunity for 32 four year old children to participate in a half day preschool program. Dene, Metis and Inuit children from Ndilo and Yellowknife attend our program and learn the language and culture of the Yellowknives Dene and it prepares them for Kindergarten. Our Program follows the components set out by Health Canada: Language and Culture; Education, Nutrition, Health Promotion, Social Support and Parental Involvement.

Language & Culture

In our Aboriginal language and culture component we celebrate the Yellowknives Dene. We teach the Weledeh dialect and culture throughout the day. Children learn simple phrases and commands, colors, numbers, days of the week, months of the year, prayers and songs. The cultural component covers activities such as setting rabbit snares, cleaning fish, making dry meat, plucking ducks, beading and sewing and making crafts. Children also learn to make bannock and help to cook traditional food such a fish, caribou ribs, ducks and geese.

Our community Elder Mary Jane Francois visits on a regular basis and sews and cooks with our children. In the spring and fall we take our children on picnics and nature walks to learn about the world around them.


Learning social skills is a very big part of our Program, so for the first hour of the day our children explore centers where their social and language skills are strengthened by the interaction between children. The children have a choice of a variety of activities including a science center, the dramatic play center, the reading center, the puzzle center, the cars and lego center, computer center, sand/water table, paint center and the craft center which could include play dough, an art activity or craft.

During circle time the children participate in learning the month, days of the week, special days, sing songs, learn colors, shapes, letters, numbers read stories and participate in a variety of physical activities such as dancing and exercises. After circle time the children participate in table time where they learn how to use scissors, how to color and draw and paste

Nutrition and Health Promotion

The children receive a healthy snack every day. Our program staff ensures that traditional foods are available and the children are taught about eating healthy foods and living healthy lifestyles. The children are taught about the importance of washing their hands, brushing their teeth

Every day the children are outside for fresh air and to teach them about the importance of being active. Once a week they are taken to our community gym or playground so they learn about physical fitness. The children are also taken to the swimming pool and skating rink to experience a variety of ways to exercise and have fun.

Parental Involvement  

It is a requirement that parents volunteer two hours a month for our Program. Parents attend monthly Parent Advisory Circle meetings, parent workshops, volunteer for field trips, bake for snack, donate traditional foods and/or assist in the classroom. Parents are encouraged to come into the classroom to share their culture with our children so that they learn about other people’s language and culture. One parent represents the other parents on the Yellowknives Dene First Nation Ndilo Education Committee.

Social Support 

Staff members work with a variety of Yellowknife agencies to ensure our children are receiving all the services that they need to prepare them for school. Agencies such as the Stanton Territorial Hospital Pediatrician, Speech and Language Therapist and Occupation Therapist, NWT Council for Persons with Disabilities, and Yellowknife Health and Social Services and Yellowknife Public Health.


Program Manager - Reanna Erasmus
ECE Teacher
Classroom Assistant/Special Needs - Jamie Erasmus
Classroom Assistant - Nora Kellogak
Bus Driver - Fred Tsetta


Comments from Children: 

Here is what some of the children have to say about their experience at the center:

  • "I like to learn A,B,C's; 1,2,3's, shapes, colours and I like colouring." Arlyn Snowshoe
  • "I like playing with the toys and I like going to the playground." Jay Wright.
  • "I like going to my school at the Church Hall and I like doing puzzles." Chad Colin
  • "I like looking for my name and playing in the playground." Tristen Koe

Comments from Parents: 

What changes have you noticed in your child's attitude or behavior?

  • She is trying harder. She is learning to tie her shoes, telling her mom she needs more practice.
  • He likes going to school and is more outgoing.
  • Her attitude is unchanged. She is starting to be considerate of others feelings at times. 
    He loves to write more and more.
  • He has more skills, scissors, it's prepared him. Excited, independent, going home teaching parents some Dogrib words.
  • She uses her manners more, always ties her shoes and is proud of it.
  • Listens, he's completely changed his attitude, his speech has improved, he loves arts and crafts.
  • She always talks about the cultural aspect. Never interested in it before.
  • Listens a little more, puts seat belt on and gets everyone else to.
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Photo Galley


  • Ndilo - Block building.jpg
  • Ndilo - dog sledding.jpg
  • Ndilo - Exploring a muskrat push up.jpg
  • Ndilo - Fun with Flubber.jpg
  • Ndilo - Happy Birthday Tea Party.jpg
  • Ndilo - How's my blood pressure.jpg
  • Ndilo - learning about trapping.jpg
  • Ndilo - Look how it stretches!.jpg
  • Ndilo - making ooblick with Pam.jpg
  • Ndilo - Outdoor fun.jpg
  • Ndilo - Sand table fun!.jpg
  • Ndilo - the biggest snowball!!.jpg
  • Ndilo - Treehouse play.jpg
  • Ndilo - We love to read together!.jpg
  • Ndilo - What's this word again.jpg