Valley schools promote early development

Pre-schoolers have an opportunity to grow linguistically, emotionally and socially to help get prepared for school.

Pre-schoolers have an opportunity to grow linguistically, emotionally and socially to help get prepared for school.

The StrongStart BC Early Learning Outreach Program will be provided at three schools in the Columbia Valley: Edgewater Elementary School, Martin Morigeau Elementary School in Canal Flats and Windermere Elementary School — as part of Rocky Mountain School District programming.

All of B.C.’s 60 school districts have been offered the opportunity to participate in the StrongStart BC Outreach Program and the province is investing $43 million to expand the program.

The Rocky Mountain School District will receive funding for the StrongStart program that will cover the costs of start-up, learning materials and this year’s operating costs, including staff, professional development, supplies and healthy snacks.

“Rocky Mountain School District is proud to offer StrongStart programming at Alexander Park in Golden, Blarchmont Early Learning Hub in Kimberley, Edgewater Elementary, Martin Morigeau in Canal Flats and Eileen Madson in Invermere,” said Jennifer Turner, assistant superintendent of schools, learning services and early years, by email. “StrongStart Programs provide, for children from birth to five and their parents or caregivers, a rich, play-based early learning environment designed to support language, cognitive, social and emotional development.

Through StrongStart, qualified early childhood educators lead learning activities where children find opportunities to gain friendships and enhance skills, while family members learn new ways to support their child’s development and make valuable connections with community supports and a network of others attending the program. Additional information about community programs and services is available at schools that offer the StrongStart programs.

The new program was rolled out in rural communities that do not have early learning programs and is geared toward helping children with developmental growth and helping to familiarize children with a school-like setting.

“The StrongStart BC Outreach Program is unique in that it brings the benefits of the program to smaller and more remote B.C. communities,” said Education Minister Shirley Bond. “In some communities, there is limited access to early learning opportunities, or there are a small number of preschool-age children. This innovative program reduces barriers for those children to attend a StrongStart BC Program.”

StrongStart BC programs are intended to fulfill the government’s election platform to produce the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent; and throne speech commitments to use under-utilized school district space as centres to deliver early learning services.