Bankhead Elementary is a participant in a pilot project of seamless kindergarten class, providing before- and after-school care in kindergarten classrooms. (Contributed)

Kindergarten pilot project launched at Kelowna school

Provincial initiative to provide before- and after-school care in kindergarten classrooms

Early learners and their families at Bankhead Elementary will benefit from the expansion of the provincial Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot program.

The Seamless Day Kindergarten pilot program will employ certified early childhood educators to provide before- and after-school care in kindergarten classrooms, as well as, support learning alongside the classroom teacher.

The program will use existing classrooms at Bankhead Elementary outside of school hours.

“The board of education is happy to see this expanded childcare support for families in our fast-growing region,” said Moyra Baxter, Central Okanagan Board of Education chair.

“We know that safe, inclusive learning spaces and care from trusted educators will foster student success.”

In a statement to the Kelowna Capital News, a ministry of education spokesperson said the ministry acknowledges the demand for child care is high.

“Expansion of the seamless day kindergarten pilot is an important step to support government’s long-term plan to create an integrated, accessible, inclusive early care and learning system,” said the emailed ministry statement.

“This program gives children continuity throughout the day on their learning journey, while supporting their transition into Kindergarten. It integrates before and after-school care into the classroom, giving busy families peace-of-mind, knowing their children are learning and playing in one safe place all day.”

The ministry has been looking at options to make use of existing school resources to help alleviate the child care pressures parents are facing.

“This is part of government’s 10-year ChildCare BC plan, as the province works to build an inclusive universal child care system that meets B.C. communities’ growing child care needs,” said the statement.

Kevin Kaardal, school district superintendent/CEO, said SD#23 sought out the opportunity to be a participant in the pilot project.

“It is great news for early learners to have a seamless day so they can continue to learn, play, and grow in their new school, beyond the regular school day,” Kaardal said.

READ MORE: B.C. expanding seamless day kindergarten pilot project

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