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Seamless Kindergarten pilot coming to Delta

The program employs certified early childhood educators to provide before-and after-school care in kindergarten classrooms and to support learning alongside the classroom teacher
The program makes use of existing classrooms outside of school hours.

Seamless Kindergarten is coming to the Delta School District.

The district had been given a grant to set up a Ministry of Education and Child Care pilot program at a local school and the district subsequently held a childcare survey to determine where there is currently the most need.

Parents were recently informed the results helped identify Sunshine Hills Elementary in North Delta as the best location for the Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot program.

It is set to run from April 1 until June 30, 2024, pending licensing, offering 12 childcare spaces. Participation is a pay service with the costs set to cover the district’s costs for the childcare portion of the day only, the notification from Marne Hopkinson, Delta’s Principal of Child Care and Early Learning, explained.

The program is to provide the opportunity for children to attend childcare in their school with a team of Early Childhood Educators (ECE). The morning ECE welcomes the children and provides before school, learning and care for the children, following B.C.'s Early Learning Framework.

The ECE follows the children to the kindergarten classroom and works collaboratively with the classroom teacher. The afternoon ECE begins their shift later in the day, providing staff overlap and after school learning and care.

The pilot program is designed to provide students with consistent relationships with the same people, noted Hopkinson.

Information was sent to Sunshine Hills Elementary families on how the register. There’s no word on when or how many other schools will follow if the program proves successful at Sunshine Hills.  

Due to the recent addition of childcare to the Ministry of Education, school districts are becoming more connected to childcare school programs, the school district noted prior to its parent survey.

The Delta Board of Education, meanwhile, last year approved a new childcare policy for the district, which aligns with provincial legislation.

Bill 8, the Education Statutes Amendment Act, came into effect in March 2020.

It’s an amendment of the School Act related to childcare facilities located on board of education properties, including a prescriptive order from the Ministry of Education regarding the formal establishment of board policies to govern such facilities.

The amendment includes a provision that school boards may provide childcare programs on district properties to students enrolled with the district if both the board is a licensee and that the childcare program is provided only on school days before or after school hours.

The board may charge fees to a student to whom the childcare program is provided if the fees are not more than the direct costs incurred.

A school board may also permit a licensee to use board property to provide a childcare program.

If a board permits a licensee to use board property, the board must ensure that any revenue obtained by the board from that use is not more than the direct and indirect costs incurred.

If a childcare program is provided on board property by the board or by a licensee other than the board, a school board must ensure that the program is in accordance with the district policy and does not disrupt or otherwise interfere with educational activities.