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BC Government: New early learning guide sets up young learners for success

Press Release

Nov. 8, 2019

VANCOUVER – British Columbian children ages eight and under will have access to high-quality early learning experiences that will help ensure they are successful from infancy, thanks to the release of a new provincial early learning guide.

In response to significant developments in the social, political, economic and cultural context of B.C. — creating new realities for children, families and communities — the Early Learning Framework was recently revised. It now offers a host of new perspectives on education, as well as tools and resources to help young learners be successful.

“The revised Early Learning Framework is receiving national and international attention for its potential to make a positive difference in the lives of our province’s early learners,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “We are focusing on providing accessible high-quality early learning opportunities to all British Columbian children and making sure education professionals, parents and caregivers have the knowledge required to support kids to move forward positively through their K-12 studies to reach their full potential.”

Developed in consultation with more than 600 early child care and education stakeholders, and Indigenous partners (including representatives from the First Nations Education Steering Committee, Métis Nation BC and the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society), for the first time, the framework has a focus on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and inclusion for children with diverse abilities. The revised framework expands the focus to children from infancy to eight years of age (formerly birth to five years of age), integrates theory with practice and reflects the modernized kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum.

The framework advocates for the importance of young children’s development and learning through all learning environments — from StrongStart BC programs and primary classrooms to child care settings, preschools and other early childhood development or child health programs. In addition, it guides early learning programs and activities, encourages discussion with families about their child’s early learning and shapes professional development.

The changes are intended to improve B.C. children’s access to consistent quality care and early childhood education programs and activities, no matter where they live. Associated resources provide information intended to guide education professionals, parents and caregivers on how to engage early learners in activities that will set them up for success.

The Early Learning Framework is providing the foundation for the Ministry of Education’s first Early Learning and Child Care Summit. The summit will bring together 225 representatives from B.C. school districts and early learning, child care, education and Indigenous groups at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre on Nov. 8, 2019.

Conference attendees will hear from international early learning and child care experts and will offer feedback on before- and after-school care options currently being considered by government. The ministry will work with school districts to provide new before- and after-school child care spaces on school grounds independently or in partnership with licensed operators, ensuring more families have access to quality care.

“The early years are key to a child’s development — it’s in those years that the majority of a child’s brain development happens,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “By encouraging child care to be offered in our schools and making early learning a foundation of the education curriculum, we are creating an inclusive, safe environment for children to learn the skills that will carry them to success throughout their lives.”

To support the implementation of the revised framework, Fleming announced the Province is investing $1.28 million so education professionals throughout B.C. will be better supported to help young children from birth to eight years of age build a strong foundation for learning. Grants will go out to public school districts to support early learning educators at StrongStart BC centres to participate in early learning professional development activities.

In addition, the funding will support district capacity building through two early learning programs focused on enabling school districts to help improve the social, emotional and learning outcomes for early learners. Grants will be distributed to school districts participating in the Changing Results for Young Children (CR4YC) and Strengthening Early Years to Kindergarten Transitions (SEY2KT) programs. The United Way of the Lower Mainland will also receive a grant as part of its involvement in CR4YC.

“To help our kids thrive, we need to make sure that our educators have the tools and resources they need to bring learning to life in the classroom,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “These grants will make it easier for early care and learning professionals to keep up with best practices and provide B.C. kids with a smooth transition from child care to schools across the province.”

Learn More:

To view the revised Early Learning Framework, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/teach/early-learning-framework

To view the Play Today: B.C. Handbook, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/teach/play-today

To view, Let’s Play! Activities for Families, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/support/play#letsplay

To learn more about Ready, Set, Learn, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/support/programs/ready-set-learn

To learn more about StrongStart BC, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/support/programs/strongstart-bc

To learn more about CR4YC and SEY2KT, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/teach/projects

For more information about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare

Quotes and a backgrounder follow.

Contact:

Ministry of Education
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-5963


BACKGROUNDER 1

What people are saying about the Early Learning Framework

Teri Mooring, president, British Columbia Teachers’ Federation —

“The revised Early Learning Framework is an excellent move towards stronger links between early childhood education and the K–12 system. It will create better connections and help smooth out transitions for students by using similar language, communications and strategies. That means better experiences for students, especially those with unique needs. Bringing people together and talking about these issues across the child care, early childhood education and K–12 professions has been an excellent development for all involved.”

Sue Irwin, Vancouver Coastal regional co-ordinator, Child Care Resource and Referral Programs (CCRR) of B.C. —

“The updated Early Learning Framework provides a profound foundation for early childhood educators that CCRRs are honoured to promote and implement. With its Indigenous perspective and inclusivity, the framework fosters quality and rethinking learning and practice that supports all children in their learning and care as capable co-constructors of their environments. CCRRs are excited to embrace the sense of wonder and reflection that pedagogical narration brings, and play a role in building professionalism.”

Colleen Hodgson, director, Ministry of Education, Métis Nation British Columbia —

“Métis Nation British Columbia’s vision for Métis Early Years is that Métis children throughout British Columbia experience a state of well-being that allows them to live healthy and happy lives, and that they realize their full potential as individuals, members of their family, their community, the Métis Nation and as British Columbians. Métis Nation British Columbia and the Province of British Columbia are building a strong government-to-government relationship that is distinctions-based and recognizes the needs and aspirations of Métis children in British Columbia. The revised Early Learning Framework reflects the strength of this relationship and the commitment to our Métis children birth to eight years as they transition from early years to kindergarten.”

Mary Teegee, board president, BC Aboriginal Child Care Society —

“The B.C. Early Learning Framework supports practices that are respectful of Indigenous traditions and rights in early learning and child care, especially in so far as it supports the work taking place in the implementation of the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework. In this, it works toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, where our ways of supporting our families and raising our children are paramount.”

Greg Smyth, superintendent of SD 70 (Alberni) —

“The revised Early Learning Framework is exciting for children, educators, families and community partners. It will enable early learning educators in our school district and districts across the province, to have a shared understanding as we work together for children and their families. The inaugural Early Learning Summit is also significant, providing school districts with the opportunity to come together to inspire, share best practices and explore joyful learning opportunities for children.”

David Philpott, faculty of education member, Memorial University —

“I am pleased to be invited to the first Early Learning Summit in B.C., anchoring public policy in research, which is both wise and strategic. Quality early child education optimizes human development and significantly reduces special education needs in children.”

Angela Clancy, executive director, Family Support Institute of BC —

“The Family Support Institute of BC is pleased with the work put into the Early Learning Framework and how we can better align the early years with the transition of children into school. We are heartened to see the extensive co-ordination and collaboration between stakeholders being placed on making this transition a smooth one for all kids. We are hopeful that the outcomes of the Early Learning Framework will ensure that when kids move from the early years to school, there will have been deep thought put into how we support kids to develop, grow and thrive in school communities that value diversity and belonging for all kids together.”

Andrea Sinclair, president, British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) —

“On behalf of parents across the province, BCCPAC has provided input throughout the process of revisions to the Early Learning Framework. We support the direction and focus on children from birth through elementary school. This is a key element needed to ensure a connection with the K-12 curriculum, including respect and support for reconciliation and Indigenous world views. This revised framework has an increased focus on inclusive practices and spaces for all children, including those with diverse abilities. Communication between parents, early childhood educators and elementary school teachers, particularly around early identification of vulnerable students and provision of supports and the allocation of resources, will be critical to ensure every child is welcomed and empowered to pursue their gifts.”

Kim Winchell, director of social impact, United Way of the Lower Mainland —

“Every child in B.C. deserves the chance to start kindergarten with the tools they need to succeed. We’re proud to partner with the Ministry of Education on the innovative Changing Results for Young Children initiative, and to help kids across our province reach their full potential.”

Contact:

Ministry of Education
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-5963


BACKGROUNDER 2

Facts about the Early Learning Framework and programs in B.C.

  • According to the Early Development Instrument, one-third of children enter kindergarten vulnerable in one or more areas such as social or emotional development.
  • The provincial Ready, Set, Learn program provides funding to offer school orientation events for preschoolers (three to five years of age).
  • The provincial StrongStart BC program offers free, daily drop-in programs for families and their preschool aged children.
  • The revised B.C. Early Learning Framework – funded through Childcare BC – is the culmination of a collaborative process that included early childhood educators, primary teachers, academics, Indigenous organizations, Elders, government and other professionals.
  • The Early Learning Framework is mandatory in StrongStart BC centres and is used widely in other settings, including post-secondary training programs for early childhood educators.
  • To support implementation of the new B.C. Early Learning Framework, grants totalling $170,000 will go out to public school districts to support early learning educators at StrongStart BC centres and elementary schools to take part in early learning professional development activities.
  • School districts, local communities and the United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM) partner through the Changing Results for Young Children program to offer learning opportunities for education professionals to support social, emotional and learning outcomes for young children and child care in school settings. $350,000 will be divided among the 47 school districts participating in the program in 2019. The UWLM will also receive a grant of $400,000 to support its involvement in the program.
  • Strengthening Early Years to Kindergarten Transitions is focused on helping school districts develop guidelines, models and partnerships with their local communities to ensure children and their families experience smooth transitions from early years to kindergarten. $360,000 will be divided among the 12 school districts participating in the program in 2019.

Contact:

Ministry of Education
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-5963

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

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