13I’ve spent many long, rainy afternoons with my young kids trying to find engaging and inexpensive activities to keep them busy and burn off some energy. Our favourites have been library storytimes and drop-in activities at local community centers, but after several repetitions of those programs, I was on the hunt to find something new to add to our rotation. That’s when I found StrongStart BC programs! I had heard about StrongStart years ago when working in childcare, but the registration process seemed daunting and I didn’t quite know what to expect. This year, with my oldest in preschool and my youngest looking to play with more kids, I decided to give it a shot.
The saying is that it “takes a village to raise a child” and that’s just what StrongStart programs aim to provide. StrongStart is a FREE government-funded program running out of elementary schools across BC. The program is drop-in and run by qualified early childhood educators for children 0-5 years of age and their caregivers. Activities are laid out for kids, there is music and storytime, and community organizations are brought in on a rotating basis to provide support for families. We’ve visited a handful of times already this year, and the classroom was stocked with toys. My daughter loved painting, playing with sand, and interacting with other children. Bonus– there is even a coffee station at our local StrongStart for parents/caregivers! Each location offers different activities, hours, and dates, and you can rotate spaces based on your needs. Many of the centers also provide healthy snacks for the children and offer school-like routines and special holiday parties. Once your child is registered, they will receive their very own Personal Education Number, which will follow them all throughout their school years.
Prior to attending, you will need to register your child and send it off to the designated email address for your school district. Here’s what you need:
- A photo of your child’s birth certificate or a piece of government-issued ID. (We used my child’s care card)
- OR Identification issued by Immigration Canada (Passport, Visa, PR Card)
- OR Aboriginal Status Card
- Proof of address to show that you are registering in the right school district catchment.
Click on your city below to learn more about StrongStart programs available near you.