Participate with your young child (aged birth to five) in play-based early learning activities – including stories, music and art. At no cost to families, this early learning drop-in program helps prepare children for success in Kindergarten.
StrongStart BC programs provide rich learning environments designed for early learning development – language, physical, cognitive, social and emotional. Qualified early childhood educators lead learning activities where children find opportunities to make friends and interact with others of similar ages.
There are 329 StrongStart BC programs currently offered in BC. StrongStart BC centres operate on a drop-in basis during the school year, and are intended for attendance by children ages 0-5, along with their parent or caregiver. A parent or a caregiver registers when they attend for the first time. Each school district has one or more locations offering a program, usually located within schools.
You may attend any centre that you wish, at any time, provided the program has the capacity/space at that time. Call the school or school district offices to ask about program attendance, schedules, and hours of operation.
To register for a StrongStart BC program, first find a location near you. You will complete a registration form on your first day. Please also be prepared to provide legal proof of identification for your child – this includes:
- Any type of vital statistics document, like a birth certificate
- Identification issued by Immigration Canada (e.g. passport, visa, permanent resident card)
- An Aboriginal Status card
Be sure to check in with the facilitator or office staff as soon as you arrive at the StrongStart BC program – they can assist with this process and answer any questions you might have.
Your child’s initial registration into a StrongStart BC program will also mark the beginning of their educational record in B.C. and they will receive a Personal Education Number (PEN).
Supporting Your Child’s Engagement
Use these suggestions to get the most out of your experience in a StrongStart BC program:
- Introduce yourself to the StrongStart BC facilitator and help your child introduce themselves.
- Sign in and out every day that you attend.
- If they want, allow your child to observe an activity or group experience before participating.
- Help your child learn by experience – teach them to help themselves, interact with others independently and create using their own ideas. Only offer assistance or instruction when necessary, such as when your child uses something for the first time or needs help resolving a conflict.
- Offer to write down your child’s words to describe the pictures they create.
- Ask your child open ended questions about their experiences.
- Acknowledge your child’s effort and offer encouragement frequently – especially after a disappointment.
- Encourage your child to engage with the other children attending. Maybe a friend can help build a tower or zip a coat. Acknowledge children’s shared enjoyment and similar interests to help them build friendships.
- Relax, learn and have fun with your child and other families.