Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot program expands

October 18, 2021 at 9:49 am  BC, News, Politics

Some of B.C.’s youngest learners and their families will benefit from an expansion of the Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot program as it grows from four schools to 25.

“I’m thrilled with the success of the Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot program so far. That’s why we are expanding it to another 21 schools,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “This program gives children continuity throughout the day on their learning journey. Access to quality, inclusive care and early learning is critical in supporting parents, particularly mothers, to pursue career or education goals while being confident that their kids are being cared for.”

The Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot program will employ certified early childhood educators to provide before- and after-school care in kindergarten classrooms and to support learning alongside the classroom teacher. The program makes use of existing classrooms, outside of school hours, and does not require new rooms or buildings.

The sites joining the pilot program are:

  • Arrow Lakes School District (SD 10)
  • Central Okanagan (SD 23)
  • Chilliwack School District (SD 33)
  • Conseil scolaire francophone (CSF) (SD 93)
  • Gold Trail School District (SD 74)
  • Gulf Islands School District (SD 64)
  • Haida Gwaii School District (SD 50)
  • Kamloops-Thompson School District (SD 73)
  • Kootenay Lakes School District (SD 08)
  • Langley School District (SD 35)
  • Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District (SD 68)
  • Nechako Lakes School District (SD 91)
  • New Westminster School District (SD 40)
  • North Okanagan-Shuswap (SD 83)
  • Peace River North School District (SD 60)
  • Sea to Sky School District (SD 48)
  • Sooke School District (SD 62)
  • Vancouver School District (SD 39)
  • Vernon School District (SD 22)
  • Society of Christian Schools BC (independent – two schools)

The expansion of the program will continue to foster connections between the education and child care sectors. This is part of government’s 10-year ChildCare BC plan, as the Province works to build an inclusive universal child care system that meets B.C. communities’ growing child care needs.

“Too many parents still don’t have access to the before- and after-school care they need,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Using existing classrooms means we can create new spaces quickly, and it will make it easier for busy parents to get to work and have peace of mind knowing their kids are cared for and learning, all in one spot.”

This pilot program is currently in place at four B.C. schools: Oliver Elementary (SD 53 – Okanagan-Similkameen), West Sechelt Elementary (SD 46 – Sunshine Coast School District), Hollyburn Elementary (SD 45 – West Vancouver School District) and Errington Elementary (SD 69 – Qualicum School District).

Nicomekl Elementary school in Langley will be one of the 21 new Seamless Day Kindergarten programs. The Langley School District is continuing to work on plans to roll out this early learning-focused child care opportunity for families in the new year.

Quotes:

Andrew Mercier, MLA for Langley –

“We know there is a high demand for quality child care options. I’ve seen the success of the Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot program in other communities, creating convenient child care right in the classroom. I’m pleased that this program will be expanding to benefit many more families across the province.”

Rod Ross, chair, Langley Board of Education –

“The Langley Board of Education is excited to get this program up and running in a neighbourhood that is seeing significant growth. We know students that develop strong connections with trusted adults and have access to additional support from caring educators is vital to their success in school.”

Lisa Lainchbury, district principal, early learning, Langley School District –

“As a working parent and educator, I understand the importance of families to find affordable child care options close to home. With this program, parents will be able to work, attend post-secondary school or fulfil other family commitments while not having to worry about the health and safety of their children outside of school hours.”

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