Strongstart early learning outreach program coming to islands off Comox Valley

Pre-schoolers and their families living in rural areas and islands off of the Comox Valley will have access to the district's first StrongStart BC early learning outreach program.

Pre-schoolers and their families living in rural areas and islands off of the Comox Valley will have access to the district’s first StrongStart BC early learning outreach program.

The Comox Valley school district will open the StrongStart BC outreach program this September for families living on Hornby and Denman islands as well as in areas around Miracle Beach and Royston and Aspen elementary schools.

Families can take their children to the program to learn through play while interacting with each other and a licensed early learning educator.

This new program ensures access for families that do not have a StrongStart BC program operating in their area, says the Ministry of Education.

The school district will receive $52,000 for the new outreach program. This includes $20,000 to purchase transportation for the mobile program, new equipment and learning materials and $32,000 to fund this year’s operating costs, including staff, professional development, supplies and healthy snacks.

“Families in the Comox Valley have seen a definite benefit from the StrongStart BC program,” said Minister of Agriculture and Comox Valley MLA, Don McRae. “Now with the expansion of the program in this district that includes the early learning outreach, even more families will benefit from this invaluable resource.”

* The first StrongStart BC centre opened at Mountain View Elementary school in Revelstoke in 2006 and, as of September 2011, there will be 326 operating across B.C.

* The centres also provide valuable referrals to community resources for parents, grandparents and caregivers.

* In 2009-2010, there were nearly half a million visits to StrongStart BC programs across the province (476,000) with more than 24,000 children participating.

* Since 2001, the Province has invested $1.4 billion in literacy and literacy-related initiatives, such as StrongStart BC early learning programs.

For more information, visit www.bced.gov.bc.ca/early_learning/strongstart_bc/. Learn more about full-day kindergarten programs at www.bced.gov.bc.ca/early_learning/fdk. Resources for parents are at www.learnnowbc.ca/LearningResources.aspx.

— Ministry of Education