Aboriginal Head Start

The Conayt Friendship Society operates the daycare facility at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) Merritt Campus, in partnership with the Nicola Valley and District Métis Society and NVIT. We offer a full-time Aboriginal Head Start program to support the daycare needs of NVIT staff and students, as well as the Métis and urban Aboriginal families in the Nicola Valley. 


The Aboriginal Head Start Program is designed for infants and children up to age 6. It is a holistic model encompassing the whole family, and has six components to create a quality early learning environment to help children and their families thrive while respecting and honouring Aboriginal diversity, teachings, and protocols. The six components of the program are language and culture, health, education, nutrition, social support, and parental involvement. 


The daycare offers a total of 28 spots (12 for infants/toddlers and 16 for children aged 3-6). Spaces are available for NVIT staff and students as well as Métis and urban Aboriginal families in the Nicola Valley The program is available full time from Monday - Friday, includes meals, and is free of charge.


Media coverage in the Merritt Herald

The Merritt Herald covered our Open House event on December 3, 2022, you can read about it - and our call for knowledge keepers - here.


Need more Information? Get in touch!

Darby Collier

Aboriginal Head Start Coordinator

Email: headstart@conayt.com

Phone: 250-315-7072


Download the Aboriginal Head Start Principles

AHS principles.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.9 MB

Download the Aboriginal Head Start Registration

Head Start Registration Form.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 407.6 KB

Download the Head Start Parent Handbook

AHS Parent Handbook.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 493.5 KB

Seeking Knowledge Keepers


Do you have a gift? Share your songs, dancing, drumming, beading, language, and painting with us.


Do you know when and where to harvest edible fruit and vegetables? Please share your knowledge.


Do you know how and where to harvest medicines from the land? Please guide us. 


Do you have any ideas on what traditional/cultural elements you'd like to see children learn? Please let us know.



You can contact Darby Collier at 250-315-7072 or by email headstart@conayt.com.


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