Strong Start children working on a community mural project in 2017. File photo

Campbell River school district will get sites for new early learning initiative

Quadra Island school is the first site to be identified for CR4YC initiative

School District 72 has been chosen to take part in a Ministry of Education initiative aimed at strengthening the connection between early learning educators and the primary grades.

At a meeting in May, assistant superintendent Nevenka Fair informed the board that the district will take part in Changing Results for Young Children (CR4YC). At present, more than 1,000 early learners in the province are part of the initiative.

“Kindergarten right now is thought of as the transition year,” she said.

Through this project, districts will get a facilitator and spaces at sites. Fair said she expects the district will probably get three to four sites to be used in combination with schools, daycares or early learning facilities and StrongStart programs – a drop-in early learning program for preschoolers.

“The whole purpose of the project is to increase the collaboration,” she said.

RELATED STORY: StrongStart program marks 10-year anniversary in Campbell River district

CR4YC aims to incorporate practices associated with increasing social and emotional well-being outcomes for children and provide young children with opportunities and special skills to develop social and emotional competence. It is grounded in research pointing to the importance of these outcomes and how young children feel to how they learn once they enter the school system. CR4YC started as a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the United Way of the Lower Mainland in the fall of 2017.

A CR4YC document describes the framework as groups of participants meeting for six half days throughout the year with an external facilitator to look at ways to work toward the outcomes for young children. Ultimately, they aim to learn from the data, implement what is learned and expand the number of sites in B.C.

Fair discussed preliminary meetings about the program, adding that Quadra Elementary School has been selected as one of the sites in the district. She said there will be subsequent meetings with people in the early learning community through the local Success by Six partnership to pick the other sites, and she expects to share more information with the board as the project develops.

“We’re really excited about that initiative,” Fair said.

The board seemed equally enthusiastic about the idea.

“The power of that relationship between the early years and the school district is so important,” trustee Joyce McMann said. “The whole nature of this collaboration, I think, could be quite powerful in the lives of children.”