StrongStart BC Early Learning Centre

Date came into force or revised

May 1, 2009

Status

Current

Policy statement

StrongStart BC early learning centres  provide school-based, high quality early learning programs for children not yet eligible for kindergarten accompanied by a parent or caregiver.  These programs are designed to support the success of students when they enter Kindergarten.

Rationale or purpose of policy

The years between birth and school age are a critical time in a child’s life. The experiences that children have in the early years influence their future health, well being, and life-long learning. Investment in children’s early years can positively affect the future lives of British Columbians. Children who are exposed to language rich environments and play-based early learning experiences are more likely to develop the skills, knowledge and dispositions to support their success in school.

Authority

Section 1 (1) of the School Act (PDF) provides a definition of early learning program.

Section 86(5) of the School Act (PDF) indicates that a board may operate an early learning program with the prior agreement of the Minister.

Section 170.1(2)(e) of the School Act (PDF) allows the Minister to assign a personal education number to a child participating in an early learning program.

Policy in full

StrongStart BC early learning centres provide school-based, high quality early learning programs for children not yet eligible for kindergarten accompanied by a parent or caregiver.  These programs are designed to support the success of students when they enter Kindergarten.

StrongStart BC early learning centres should be designed and operated to meet the following standards:

Location

 

  • StrongStart BC early learning centres are situated in appropriate, available school space, preferably schools offering Kindergarten.

Operation

  • Be free of charge.
  • Open five days per week for 3-4 hours per day. 
  • Operate as per district’s school calendar, or throughout the calendar year. 
  • A parent, family member, or caregiver accompanies the child in the StrongStart BC early learning centre at all times. The service in the StrongStart BC early learning centre is not designated child care. 

Programming

Community

  • Demonstrate collaboration with community to meet the unique needs of the neighbourhood
  • Provide opportunities for other service providers to connect with parents/caregivers and children in order to provide them with information and services (e.g. public health, libraries)
  • Where possible, link parents/caregivers to services offered by health authorities, community agencies and other social service providers (e.g., early screening, libraries, English as a Second Language services, BC Family Resource Programs, child care services, referrals for children who may have developmental or other special needs)
  • Identify strategies to reach the most hard to serve families
  • Link and work in partnership with other approved StrongStart BC Early Learning programs in the school district.

Other requirements

School districts should ensure that: 

  • The program is run by a certified Early Childhood Educator (ECE) with a current license to practice or by a person actively enrolled in an approved ECE training program and mentored by an ECE with a current license to practice. 
  • All facilitator(s) at the StrongStart BC early learning centre have undergone and passed a Criminal Records Check. 
  • School Principals are well informed by school district staff about the goals of the StrongStart BC program and are committed to welcoming and contributing to the effectiveness of the program. 
  • A StrongStart BC early learning centre sign that meets the Ministry standard is posted in a location at the school, or mutually-agreed upon location, and is visible to families. 
  • The school district complies with the "Communications Protocol Agreement" for StrongStart BC early learning centres between the Ministry of Education and School Districts for all graphics, news releases and announcements. 
  • A risk management plan is in place for the centre.

Procedures related to policy

School districts are responsible for creating and maintaining accurate StrongStart BC data and records.

School districts are required to ensure each child attending a StrongStart BC Centre is assigned a Personal Education Number (PEN). PENs will be assigned to these children using the established PEN request process schools currently use.

School districts are required to use the British Columbia enterprise Student Information System (BCeSIS) to report enrolment and attendance data to the Province. To do this, school districts must collect enrolment and attendance information about the children attending the centre, including names, birthdates, and gender of children.

School districts are required to submit 2 reports per school year regarding enrolment of children at the centre(s), including the Personal Education Number (PEN) and attendance of each child. The Ministry extracts StrongStart BC attendance data from BCeSIS on following dates:

  • January 10 (attendance for September through December) *phasing this collection date out January 2014*
  • July 10 (attendance for January though June)

 

 

Useful Contacts

If you have any questions relating to the StrongStart BC Early Learning Centre policy please contact the Ministry at:

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