More kindergartners, families will benefit from pilot expansion

A pilot has expanded to nearly double the number of schools in B.C., providing more families with access to affordable early learning and child care, before and after school, conveniently located in the kindergarten classroom.

“Adding more Seamless classrooms means providing continuity for more B.C. kids and peace of mind to more B.C. parents,” said Rachna Singh, Minister of Education and Child Care. “To have kindergarteners learning and receiving before- and after-school care all in one place makes days easier for everyone.”

Seamless Day Kindergarten integrates before- and after-school care into the kindergarten classroom, delivered by certified early childhood educators (ECEs) who work alongside the classroom teacher. The program makes the best use of available school space, existing classrooms, outdoors, school gyms and libraries outside of school hours.

“We know many families continue to need child care once their children begin school,” said Grace Lore, Minister of State for Child Care. “The Seamless Day Kindergarten classroom offers child care before and after school and will make it easier for busy families to get through their workday knowing their children are learning and well cared for at school.”

The province’s first Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot began at Oliver Elementary in the Okanagan Similkameen School District (SD 53) in 2019, which continues to be a success, supporting some of the community’s youngest learners and their families. The Province provided $3 million in 2022-23 to add 20 classrooms, expanding the Seamless Day Kindergarten to 45 classrooms throughout the province. In 2023-24, $4.1 million in new funding will be provided to support the Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot.

Seamless Day Kindergarten is part of ChildCareBC, government’s plan to make access to affordable, quality, inclusive child care a core service that families can rely on.

Quotes:

Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen –

“No matter if you live in a small town like Oliver or a big city like Vancouver, quality child care is enormously valuable and certainly in high demand. In rural places, we’re especially aware of the need for diverse solutions to help address local needs. This is exciting news for families across this province because it provides one more option to help support families, and brings the solution to meet them where they’re at.”

Rob Zandee, board chair, Okanagan Similkameen School District (SD 53) –

We are proud of this program that serves to improve outcomes for our students as well as provide needed before- and after-school care in our schools for families. We wish to thank the Ministry of Education and Child Care for their financial support for our Seamless Day programs.”

Melia Dirk, kindergarten teacher, Oliver Elementary –

“Seamless Day Kindergarten allows children to make authentic connections with several adults in the building and the ability to build stronger relationships with each other. Children feel more confident in who they are and become positive leaders in the classroom and school.”

Alaina Smith, early childhood educator, Oliver Elementary –

“As an ECE working in this collaborative team approach to teaching, I feel very appreciated, valued and seen. I love my job!”

Tracy Maplesden-McClymont, parent, Oliver Elementary –

“The familiarity and routine for my son is priceless in building his confidence and trust. He has flourished in school, and we could not be happier.”

Learn More:

Seamless Day Kindergarten Program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/teach/projects

Oliver Seamless Day Kindergarten Program: https://www.sd53.bc.ca/apps/pages/earlylearning

A backgrounder follows.

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