Before children are old enough to enter Kindergarten, they are being offered education and support paid for by the Langley School District.
It’s in programs like Strong Start, which is a play-based free daily program that offers a nutritious snack, story time, crafts and free play for caregivers and their children age 0 to six. Nine schools in the district offer Strong Start.
Strong Start, Family Place and programs like this allow parents a place to go for activities, support and resources. Often the instructor at Strong Start gets to know the children and can field questions of concerns and offer resources to parents who may have questions about their children’s health or behaviour.
“Our family used a resource like this and sometimes if you have this kind of constant support it can make a huge difference,” said trustee Rosemary Wallace at Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s cliche, but it can take a village to raise a child. Willoughby really seems like a neighbourhood that needs this.”
Wallace was referencing the new Willoughby Early Years Centre that opened up in Willoughby Elementary, offering a number of programs and services all under one roof.
“This kind of programming prepares future students to be school ready,” said Trustee Shelley Coburn. “It also promotes neighbourhood schools.”
Trustee David Tod believes that early learning services is vital.
“Prevention is really important and if we can support children early, it can go a long way,” he said.
Trustee Rod Ross wondered if the District should be taking on early learning as well as K-12 and adult education.
Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman said the leadership team is tasked with as much as they can handle and they are of the belief that early learning is a benefit.
To that end, the Willoughby Early Years Centre is hosting C.H.I.L.D. (Children’s Health, Information, Learning and Development) Day on May 29 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. With free activities, bouncy castle, face painting, food trucks and more. There will also be free consultation on your child’s behaviour and development. Willoughby Elementary is at 20766 80 Ave.