Provincial Office for the Early Years
The Provincial Office for the Early Years is hosted by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Its mandate is to ensure that:
- Investments and efforts made under the B.C. Early Years Strategy result in maximum benefit for children and families in B.C.
- Partners across the early years sector work together and leverage policies and investments in order to ensure that families with young children can access an integrated system of programs and services
- The B.C. Early Years Centre network continues to expand across the province
- The public understands early years priorities, roles and opportunities
Early Years Strategy
The B.C. Early Years Strategy outlines the provincial government’s commitment to supporting young children and their families between birth and age six. It highlights the importance of healthy early childhood development and recognizes that improving outcomes for children requires the joint effort of multiple partners – including all levels of government, health authorities, school districts and service providers.
Here are some results from the strategy so far:
- Established a network of B.C. Early Years Centres that provide one-stop access to a range of programs, services and information in 47 communities
- Invested 26.5 million to support the creation of more than 4,300 new licensed child-care spaces across the province since 2014
- These spaces build on the more than 113,000 licensed child-care spaces that are currently funded throughout the province, and are part of government’s commitment to create 13,000 spaces by 2020
- Implemented the B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit
- Helped to develop early childhood education occupational standards and curriculum guide
- Developed municipal government resources to support child care expansion
- Created a new position, the Superintendent of the Early Years, to lead the work with school districts in defining early years priorities
- Review of Local Early Years Planning: The Provincial Office for the Early Years recently conducted a review of local early years planning initiatives.
Superintendent of the Early Years
The Provincial Office for the Early Years and the Ministry of Education take a coordinated and thoughtful approach to connecting child care and early learning programs like StrongStart B.C. and full day Kindergarten.
A joint Superintendent helps manage these connections by:
- Working collaboratively with ministries, school districts and education partners to support the B.C. Early Years Strategy
- Identifying opportunities to engage school districts in early years planning and initiatives
- Linking local school districts to broader early years’ supports/services and identifying promising practices across B.C. to understand the relevance of such linkages and how these practices could be developed across school districts
- Identifying strategies to create stronger links to enhance kindergarten transitions for all children
- Identifying how Aboriginal Enhancement Agreements can include early years activities at district levels
- Working with districts to create a better understanding of the importance of the early years
Early Learning Promising Practices
One of the Superintendent's key activities has been to identify the range of early years activities and promising practices that are available in B.C. Learn more about these promising practices below:
- Early Years in B.C. School Districts: A Scan of Promising Practices furthers conversations with School District personnel involved in managing early learning initiatives within the district, to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities that exist in regards to early years programs and services
- Supporting Seamless Transitions for B.C.’s Youngest Learners: highlights some of the practices in schools and communities across B.C. that support our youngest learners as they transition from early years programs and services in to kindergarten
- The Science of Early Child Development (SECD) resources narrow the gap between research and practice. These multimedia tools are used for teaching and learning around the world. Users at different levels get engaged by the readings, games, questions, links to reports and websites, and hundreds of videos of experts, children, programs.
Through the BC Site Access, SECD – North American Edition, and SECD - Child Development Primer (in English and French) are available to anyone situated in British Columbia.
Use these resources for:
- your own professional development, by delving into a variety of early years topics
- staff training, by selecting topics for staff meetings to encourage critical thinking and discussion
- parent education, by showing the video examples to parents/clients
- classes and workshops, by projecting and discussing the information in face-to-face sessions
- online teaching, by having students access the resources as their “textbook”