Seven excited moms with young children arrived by car and stroller at the new Early Years Centre at Willoughby Elementary on April 8.
They came for the Infant Development Play Group — a two-hour session for children to develop motor skills and meet other children.
The service is delivered by the Langley Child Development Centre. Other services delivered at the site include a family resource program for parents/caregivers and young children that fosters healthy child development and that builds toward readiness for school; a mothers and tots program for Spanish-speakers; and an IPALS program focused on early literacy development and school preparation for children in immigrant families.
IPALS stands for Immigrant Parents as Literacy Supporters.
“We’re thrilled to be able to establish a site in Willoughby” said Lynne Pearson, executive director of Langley Child Development Centre.
“We know that Willoughby has the highest number of young children of any Langley neighbourhood and we hope from this centre we can more efficiently serve our families in Walnut Grove.”
“This is only the beginning of services,” said Bill Dartnell, executive director of Langley Community Services.
“This is a limited opening of one room at Willoughby Elementary on four days a week. In the fall, however, one wing of the school will become the Early Years Centre, offering a much wider variety of early years services.”
Willoughby Early Years Centre is a partnership between the Langley Early Childhood Development Committee, School District 35, Langley Community Services, Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services, and Langley Child Development Centre, with the support of the Township of Langley and many Langley service providers.
In September the centre will expand its services to include a preschool, children’s library story time, recreation services and educational opportunities on topics that will support children’s overall development. Strong Start will continue to be provided as part of the centre.
“This has been a unique venture between a whole constellation of services for young children,” said Lynne Topham, Executive Director of Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services.
“It’s a testament to the power of collaboration when a community works together to provide local services.
“Now we’re looking forward to working with the families in Willoughby and North Langley to ensure this center successfully meets their needs.”