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‘SPARK’ sessions help get families ready for kindergarten

‘SPARK’ sessions help get families ready for kindergarten

ColumnHead-DaveMewhortSchool District No. 46 takes early learning very seriously. In fact in our Strategic Plan, Goal 1 (a) is, “Our students will enter kindergarten well-prepared and with engaged well informed parents invited to partner with their children’s teachers through a comprehensive early learning program.” To support this Strategic Plan initiative, School District No. 46 has a series of programs that support children from birth through to the end of kindergarten.

Children first experience our school district when their parents attend SPARK! (Supporting Parents on the Road to Kindergarten!).  Sessions are held for new parents three times per year until their children reach kindergarten. They are taught about early childhood development and how to best support their child’s learning. Our Early Learning Coordinator, Kirsten Deasey, introduces parents to the SPARK! program during prenatal classes.

The Imagination Library is a part of SPARK! This program ensures that children have access to literature by receiving, for free, an age-appropriate book each month in the mail.

Families with children from newborn to five years old can drop-in to StrongStart Centres and meet with educators while playing and learning together with other children and families. StrongStart Centres are located at Gibsons Elementary, Roberts Creek Elementary, Sechelt Early Learning Hub, Halfmoon Bay Elementary and Madeira Park Elementary. We also have the Wonder Wheels Bus, a bookmobile that travels up and down the coast.

We offer, “Ready, Set, Learn” sessions, designed for three year olds prior to the children entering kindergarten. Each child is given an age-appropriate book, and families learn strategies to engage three-year-old children when reading together. Families are given age-appropriate toys to take home to support their child’s learning and play.

The KinderSPARK! program welcomes families to kindergarten. Families attend a 90-minute session once a week for 12 weeks each spring before kindergarten entry. This program is offered in almost all of our elementary schools.

Our PALS (Parents as Literacy Supporters) program is implemented in kindergarten and is designed to engage parents in their child’s reading journey.

Bring your little ones for BIG fun in Tiny Town. This is a child-sized “town” located in the Sechelt Learning Centre. Children can play in the tiny market, post office, cafe, barn, house and ferry.

For more information about these and other Early Learning initiatives, visit our website at http://www.sd46earlylearning.ca, or contact Kirsten Deasey, Early Learning Coordinator, by email to kdeasey@sd46.bc.ca.

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