No doubt, technology has had a major impact on what we do in our schools. Just a decade ago, wireless networks were in their infancy, smartphones were still something from The Jetsons and student involvement with computers was limited to a single room or a single course, rather than integrated into their learning.
When I look back at the last decade at what has changed in schools, I have a different answer. In recent years, we have really come to understand the key role of early learning and the crucial nature of supporting our kids to be ready for school – socially, physically and emotionally.
It’s hard to believe we are only four years in to full-day Kindergarten in BC; it feels like it has been part of our system for far longer. Of course, full-day K is just one piece of the work around early learning. In West Vancouver we have dedicated staff to focus on our youngest learners, led by District Principal Sandra-Lynn Shortall. Her role includes work that connects both in schools and the community; we have never spent more time working with our pre-schools, for example, than we do today.
We are very proud of our various efforts around early learning. We have two highly subscribed StrongStart programs for 3 and 4 year olds at Hollyburn and Eagle Harbour, and our Board has continually advocated for funding to expand these programs to more schools. We also host Ready, Set Learn for preschoolers and Welcome to Kindergarten events for our future students as part of the transition to elementary schools.
Some of our most recent work in this area is part of the Changing Results for Young Readers initiative. Our teachers and schools have been working with colleagues around the province to improve reading instruction at the primary grades. We know from research how crucial it is for students to be on the track to reading before they enter the intermediate grades, and we have been committed to finding the best possible ways to ensure all of our students meet this challenge.
The District’s 2014 Ready, Set Learn event for 3-and 4-year old children and there is scheduled for Saturday, April 26 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. in the Atrium at the West Vancouver Community Centre. Welcome to Kindergarten events are scheduled at each of our schools beginning later this month and into June. If your child or a family you know has a child born in 2009, it is important to register at one of our schools to attend one of these school-based WTK events.
Early learning is really just part of the continuum of learning in our district. The work that we do takes place both inside and outside the system in order to prepare students to enter school and support them throughout their educational career and beyond.