A provincial pilot program to provide before- and after-school care for kindergarten kids will include Langley’s Nicomekl Elementary school and 21 other B.C. schools.
Education minister Jennifer Whiteside announced the expansion of the Seamless Day program at the Langley City school on Monday, Oct. 18, saying she was “thrilled” with the results from the first phase, where four schools took part.
“This program gives children continuity throughout the day on their learning journey,” Whiteside said.
“Access to quality, inclusive care and early learning is critical in supporting parents, particularly mothers, to pursue career or education goals while being confident that their kids are being cared for.”
Seamless Day will employ certified early childhood educators to provide care in kindergarten classrooms and to support learning alongside the classroom teacher.
The program makes use of existing classrooms, outside of school hours, and does not require new rooms or buildings.
Katrina Chen, minister of state for child care, said too many parents still don’t have access to that kind of care.
“Using existing classrooms means we can create new spaces quickly, and it will make it easier for busy parents to get to work and have peace of mind knowing their kids are cared for and learning, all in one spot,” Chen said.
Rod Ross, chair of the Langley school board, was on hand for the announcement, saying “it’s a wonderful day in the neighbourhood.”
“It’s really a no-brainer in many ways,” Ross told the Langley Advance Times.
“We really need to see more of this. I mean, this is just one school in Langley, but every elementary school is struggling with this.”
Lisa Lainchbury, Langley district principal, early learning, said “we know that there’s a lot of families and parents who are seeking child care and there is going to be an opportunity for them to have another place.”
“As a working parent and educator, I understand the importance of families to find affordable child care options close to home,” Lainchbury added.
“With this program, parents will be able to work, attend post-secondary school or fulfil other family commitments while not having to worry about the health and safety of their children outside of school hours.”
Langley MLA Andrew Mercier, MLA for Langley was pleased.
“We know there is a high demand for quality child care options,” Mercier said.
“I’ve seen the success of the Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot program in other communities, creating convenient child care right in the classroom.”
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