Okanagan Skaha School District No. 67 announced that it was successful in its application for a Early Learning Centre grant in the amount of $52,416 from the Provincial Office of the Early Years.
Additional funding for four subsequent years is possible after review of the centre in its first year. A total of 57 organizations applied for the grant and 21 of the 57 were determined eligible as B.C. Early Years Centres.
The district will be working in partnership with Penticton & District Community Resource Services and the Summerland Early Years Table in the implementation of the B.C. Early Years Strategy, which is designed to support families and ensure early learners have the best possible start in life.
In collaboration with multiple early years service providers, the Early Years Centre will coordinate and integrate existing services to ensure a seamless system of support and single point of access for families with children under the age of six. Such access is designed to span prenatal supports to transition to kindergarten.
The centre will offer parenting support information and/or programs to support children’s social and emotional well-being, provide health promotion and prevention information and/or services, provide access to early intervention information, referrals and/or services, provide information and/or linkages that support young children transitioning to kindergarten and provide information on child care programs available in the community.
The school district’s centre will be a multi-community Early Years Centre, offering a one-stop shop “family hub” that is both a place-based and outreach model focusing on early intervention and kindergarten readiness for young children and their families within the region: Summerland, Kaleden, Naramata and Penticton. The centre will provide a physical location within each community for families to drop into for information and programs and offers a range of collated services in addition to providing early years programming.
As well, the centre will have an outreach facilitator to meet with families where they live, work and gather in an effort to ensure access to service for families.
We have locations in various communities like the food bank in Summerland that has designated space for the early years hub. We will have space in Naramata, Kaleden and a hub at Queen’s Park,” said superintendent Wendy Hyer. “Like all good grants they come to an end, the intent will be once that happens is to see where the greatest demand for support service is and adjust the schedule.”
Details about the community locations and how to access services will be provided prior to the centre opening.