New BC Early Years Centre opens in School District No. 67 (Okanagan Skaha – Penticton)
School District No. 67 (Okanagan Skaha) – Parents of young children in Kaleden, Penticton, Naramata and Summerland will be able to access a range of early learning, health and family services in their community thanks to a new BC Early Years Centre with satellite locations in each community. These sites have opened throughout School District No. 67 schools and will serve families with children aged 0-6.
Wendy Hyer, Superintendent of Schools for School District No. 67 (Okanagan Skaha)
“We are very appreciative of the commitment by the Provincial Office for the Early Years for supporting a BC Early Years Centre in School District No. 67. Through a strong partnership with Penticton and District Community Resources Society, Communities For Kids and Success by Six, this initiative will provide integrated services and resources to our early learners, facilitating smoother transitions into Kindergarten. We know investment in early learning supports children and families and makes for a strong community.”
Supported by the Communities for Kids Early Childhood Coalition & Success by Six Community tables, and hosted by School District No. 67 and coordinated by Penticton and District Community Resources Society the Okanagan Skaha BC Early Years Centre offers a number of programs, services and supports, including:
- Information about child development and parenting
- Developmental screening and supports
- Culturally focussed family supports and resources
- Opportunities to participate in activities as a family that reflect cultural and community values
- Referrals to services and supports that promote healthy early childhood development; for example, speech and language development, childcare, health nurse or dental services
- Referrals to social service agencies that assist with housing, food security, income and transportation.
This new centre is part of a commitment under the BC Early Years Strategy to implement a network of BC Early Years Centres across the province that will provide families with one-stop, convenient access to a range of services and supports, information and referrals. The Okanagan Skaha Centre is one of 21 new BC Early Years Centres opening this year bringing the total number of centres across the province to 47.
Penticton MLA Dan Ashton:
“These new BC Early Years Centres will help local families connect with other families in their neighborhoods and will help children learn, play and experience new things. Having multiple programs and services under one roof – especially on school grounds – helps create a strong sense of community that will benefit our youngest learners.”
Tanya Behardien, Executive Director of Penticton and District Community Resources Society:
“The youngest members in our community deserve every opportunity to grow into healthy young people and experience a wonderful start to going to school. Thanks to the Province and School District No. 67, we are pleased to be a partner in helping to build the Early Years Centre. We think that this new Centre will go a long way to support parents and their young children to access the things they need for early learning and successful entry into school.”
BC Early Years Centres are located in a diverse mix of urban, rural and Aboriginal communities throughout the province, and are meant to build on existing local community resources to enhance services for families. Each centre receives $52,000 annually from the Provincial Office for the Early Years as part of the ongoing commitment to the BC Early Years Strategy.
BC Early Years Strategy:
Provincial Office for the Early Years: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_years/index.htm
Early childhood development programs funded through the Ministry of Children and Family Development: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_childhood/index.htm
Early Learning programs funded through the Ministry of Education, including Full-day Kindergarten and StrongStart BC: www.bced.gov.bc.ca/early_learning/
Eileen Muzzin, Okanagan Skaha Early Years Facilitator
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Children and Family Development