Child centre opens in Willoughby


A new facility for families of small children has opened in Willoughby Elementary for families in the Willoughby and Walnut Grove area.

The new Early Years Centre will offer a variety of services and was created in a partnership between the Langley Early Childhood Development Committee, School District 35, Langley Community Services, Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services, and Langley Child Development Centre.

There are programs such as the infant development play group, Family Resource Program for parents/caregivers and young children to help with readiness for school; a Mothers and Tots program for Spanish-speakers; and an program focused on early literacy development and school preparation for children in immigrant families.

“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.”

The groups behind this centre expect there will be more offered in the future.

“This is only the beginning of services,” said executive director Bill Dartnell with 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.”

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.

The centre also receives support from the Township and many local service providers, according to Lynne Topham, executive director of Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services.

“This has been a unique venture between a whole constellation of services for young children,” she said. “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.”

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