Dr. Perley StrongStart centre officially opens in Grand Forks

By Contributor
December 7th, 2009

Press release from the office of MLA John Slater

Boundary-Similkameen MLA John Slater was joined by Boundary school district board of education chair Teresa Rezansoff, parents, caregivers and district staff today at the official opening of the StrongStart BC early learning centre at Dr. D.A. Perley Elementary school in Grand Forks.

“The Dr. D.A. Perley StrongStart BC centre will provide families in the Grand Forks community a stimulating and supportive place where their children can discover the joy of learning,” said Slater. “Learning for Life, Dr. Perley Elementary school’s motto, truly embodies the goal of StrongStart BC.”

StrongStart BC is a free early learning program for preschool-aged children accompanied by a parent or caregiver. A qualified early childhood educator leads activities, including stories, music, and arts, to help children grow linguistically, emotionally and socially, and become comfortable in a school-like setting.

All of B.C.’s 60 school districts have been offered the opportunity to participate in the StrongStart BC program. The Province is investing $43 million to expand the program, and over 100 new StrongStart BC programs will open this year. StrongStart BC centres help fulfil government’s commitment to use underutilized school district space to deliver early learning services.

The Boundary school district has received $50,000 for the Dr. D.A. Perley StrongStart BC centre. This includes $20,000 to prepare in-school space, including renovations and the purchase of new equipment and learning materials and $30,000 to fund this year’s operating costs, including staff, professional development, supplies and healthy snacks. The StrongStart BC program runs five days a week, with a special 12-week program offered on Saturdays.

“Support for young children and their families has long been a priority through our Boundary Integrated Services Model in school district No. 51,” said Rezansoff. “The opening of our school district’s fourth StrongStart BC centre at Dr. D.A. Perley will be a very positive addition to the Boundary-wide network already in place, helping to ensure our youngest learners are gaining a strong, lifelong foundation for success.”

Since 2001, the Province has invested $1.2 billion in literacy and literacy-related initiatives, such as StrongStart BC early learning programs, almost $15 million to operate the kindergarten readiness program Ready, Set, Learn and $2.7 million for the LEAP BC program that encourages literacy, physical activity and healthy eating in preschool-aged children.

Government has committed $151 million over two years to implement optional full day kindergarten for all five-year-olds in B.C. Full day kindergarten will be available for up to 50 per cent of kindergarten students in 2010 and for every five-year-old starting school in 2011. 

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