Seamless Day Before and After School Care - A Success Story in SD73

Posted On Tuesday February 01, 2022

By Heather Grieve, Board Chair

February 1, 2022

School District 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) Board of Education prioritizes early years education which is foundational to children’s success in school and in life. The Board has advocated for and is proud to be taking part in a ministry-supported pilot, Seamless Day Before and After School Care Program at Arthur Hatton Elementary School.

This pilot is unique because it provides Kindergarten students with an opportunity to come to school early, take part in literacy, numeracy, and play-based activities in their day, and then to stay in the same caring, play-based environment at the end of the day until their parents pick them up. These children and families are accessing high quality early learning experiences in a single location, for the full workday, with the same caring adults in their local school. Hence, it is a seamless transition of learning and play with a highly qualified team of educators including a classroom teacher and two early childhood educators.

Our Board of Education advocated to take part in this pilot program because we recognize the pressing need to be innovative when considering how to increase the number of affordable, accessible, and high-quality childcare spaces offered in schools. We hear regularly from community members asking us to support this initiative. We continue to support it and also aim to help to build the future of childcare required to move BC towards an inclusive universal childcare system.

Kindergarten teacher Helen Bailey shared, “We have had a very successful collaboration so far. The Early Childhood Educators have brought so many great ideas and are willing to help out in all aspects of the program.”  Early Childhood Educators have specialized certification to support early learners to grow in their competencies to communicate, problem solve, and develop positive relationships while reinforcing specific learning goals.

One parent stated, “Having childcare on school grounds is a win for everyone – Me and my child are already familiar with these surroundings. Plus, it saves me time and money.”  

Principal Mike Johnson highlighted, “The Seamless Day Program builds an early connection with families and the school and allows us as the school community to get to know the students in a different and more informal way. I love the opportunity it provides the students to have an informal opportunity to explore their passions within the school.”

Superintendent Rhonda Nixon and Assistant Superintendent Reilly confirmed that the Early Learning teams at both the district and school levels are motivated by the success of this program. The project could look at expansion of care to include not just Kindergarten students, but students in grades one to three as these children continue to age.  

We will continue to build on what we learn and to apply the successes in other environments, where space permits.  We will continue to advocate for the space to serve our fast-paced growing communities’ needs.  We see this success as our first steps on the path towards an inclusive, universal childcare system. 

This column appeared in Kamloops This Week: View from SD73 on February 1, 2022

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