StrongStart BC Evaluation – parent survey

As we continue to evaluate all aspects of the StrongStart BC early learning program with the help of a talented research team from University of Toronto, we need some help from the programs.  We ask that StrongStart BC facilitators please share the below information to the parents within their program. The more robust the response, the better information we have to support and continue the fantastic work of StrongStart BC.

As the Ministry of Education continues to work with a team of researchers from the University of Toronto to evaluate the effectiveness of the StrongStart BC Early Learning centres. 

 The study will  inform the long term planning of StrongStart BC, and investigate the program’s impact on young children’s development and its impact on parents, caregivers, educators, administrators and the community.

 All information collected will be kept strictly confidential.  Please share your views to help make StrongStart BC even better. 

Parents:  (English, French, Chinese)

Thanks for helping this get out to the parents!!

Ministry of Education Early Years Team.

StrongStart BC Evaluation Focus Group

The Ministry of Education is working with researchers from the University of Toronto to evaluate the effectiveness of StrongStart BC Early Learning Programs to support long-term planning.

StrongStart BC facilitators, we want to hear from you!

Join us:

Friday May 6th, 2016, 5:00 to 5:45, Richmond Room, Radisson Hotel, Richmond BC


Saturday May 7th, 2016, 12:45 to 1:30 pm. Room TBA, Radisson Hotel, Richmond BC

Refreshments will be served and participants will receive a free children’s book.

Space is limited. Please RSVP Stacey Mudie,


Flyer for Focus Group

ECEBC 2016 Conference Opportunity

The Ministry of Education has partnered with the Early Childhood Educators of BC to organize a specialized StrongStart BC offering at ECEBC’s 2016 annual conference. StrongStart BC facilitators who attend the 2016 conference will be able to access customized professional development as well as opportunity for networking with other StrongStart BC facilitators from around the province.

Through funding from the Ministry of Education, StrongStart BC facilitator registration fees will be subsidized up to $325 per person. The subsidy will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Facilitators interested in attending the conference must register with ECEBC by sending their registration form by fax (604.709.6077) or email ( .  Please review ECEBC’s conference fee grid on page 19 of their  Conference Brochure.

To receive the subsidized registration fee, StrongStart BC facilitators must register for at least one of the two StrongStart BC facilitators’ workshops on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6 (workshop B1 and C1).  Please fax registration forms to ECEBC at 604.709.6077, or email to

The Ministry of Education is also prepared to offer a travel bursary to reduce the cost for school districts to send StrongStart BC facilitators to ECEBC’s 2016 annual conference.  While bursaries will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, priority will be given to applicants from the Interior, the Kootenays, and Northern BC regions. Maximum bursary amounts for school districts from each region can be found in the table below. Please complete the attached application form and submit it to Yasmin Irani at or fax to 604.709.6077 by March 21, 2016 for review and decision.

Maximum Amounts for Travel Bursary
Northern BC = $2,500

Kootenays = $2,500

Interior = $2,500          

Northern Vancouver Island = $1,000

Southern Vancouver Island= $1,000

Sunshine Coast = $300

Lower Mainland = $200


Online Training now available for Reflecting on Quality Tool


The Early Years team in collaboration with OpenSchool BC is pleased to announce the launch of online training for the Reflecting on Quality Tool.

You can find this fun and engaging online training at

It was co-developed with StrongStart BC facilitators, school district staff and the Ministry of Education. Take a look and see if you can find some of your work or your colleagues experiences highlighted!


Online Course on Supporting Indigenous Young Children within Community



UBC is offering an online course January – April 2016. This course provides students with an introduction to perspectives related to working with Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) families with infants and children with special needs in Canada, and British Columbia in particular.

Course Objectives Students will learn about:

  • languages and tribal groups in British Columbia.
  • the importance of land and territory in relation to identity.
  • the history of residential schools and the negative history of child welfare for Indigenous families.
  • Indigenous worldviews and perspectives on child and lifespan development and the roles of children in relation to their family.
  • Indigenous approaches to “home visiting,” developmental and needs assessment and family support.
  • ways of understanding special needs and supporting children who are differently-abled along with their families.
  • the importance of ceremony and celebration in the lives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit families.

Follow this link for more information:

Call for Content – Reflecting on Quality Training Tool

Attention StrongStart BC facilitators!

The Ministry of Education is developing an online training module for the Reflecting on Quality tool. This online training tool will serve to support facilitators and district staff in completing the Reflecting on Quality assessment. In order to make this training as interactive and useful as possible, we need your help! We are looking for facilitators who are interested in providing us with one or more of the following types of content:

    • Photos of your StrongStart BC centre looking its best
    • Photos of artwork, projects and displays
    • Photos of children playing, collaborating, and learning (media release forms required – please send these along with appropriate documentation)
    • Photos of you and StrongStart BC families learning together (media release forms required – please send these along with appropriate documentation)
    • Respond to 1 or 2 short questions about your StrongStart BC program
    • Write about your experience as a StrongStart BC facilitator
    • Respond to one of the quality statements in the Reflecting on Quality tool
    • Write about a success, a challenge, or a program goal that you achieved
    • Have a parent, caregiver, or other school staff member write about their experience with StrongStart BC.
    • StrongStart BC will be at the ECEBC Conference 2015 on Saturday, May 2nd in Richmond, and we need a few volunteers to appear in a short video.
    • Talk on camera about your experience as a StrongStart BC facilitator
    • Don’t worry, we’ll edit the video and make you look great!

If you are interested in making a contribution please let me know by March 31, 2015. If you have any questions, please contact me at

We greatly appreciate all of your help, and thank you in advance for your time and effort.

Call for Applications – Community Child Car Seats Program

Child car seats are essential to vehicle safety, but they are often inaccessible to families and service providers in need.

The BCAA and United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM) are once again working together to enhance the safety and well-being of children in BC.  As a result, BCAA and UWLM are launching the 2015 Community Child Car Seat Program (CCCSP).  

 The CCCS Program is for a non-profit agency or a community program that falls under that agency (not both). An agency or community program that supports families with children under the age of nine are invited to apply for child car seats. Successful applicants will receive child car seats at no cost for use within their program and/or for distribution to families in need.

 The deadline for applications is March 22, 2015.

 For information about the Community Child Car Seat Program and the application form, follow this link: Community Child Car Seat Program.

The Importance of Early Learning Environments

There are many factors to a child’s early learning, including parents, caregivers, and other children. Perhaps the factor with the largest scope is the early learning environment. The learning environment is the mix of spaces and context in which a young child grows and learns. The environment is often referred to as the “third teacher” (after parents and educators) due to its importance in early learning. While the environment can refer to a child’s home, the outdoors, or a classroom, we will focus on the preschool as a learning environment.

Environments should be welcoming and interesting. Unfamiliar surroundings and people can provoke a stress response, which has the potential to be damaging to a child’s learning abilities. Having homey features in a classroom environment helps children feel more comfortable and can help their ability to learn. Once a feeling of comfort has been established, there can also be a variety of new and interesting areas and features – some level of uncertainty and novelty generates intellectual arousal and interest. Different parts of an environment can have different stimulation levels, which have a direct effect on how children play – large areas encourage movement and use of space and closed areas with more soft features lend themselves to reading or discovery activities. With this in mind, it’s clear that a diverse environment creates a variety of experiences and opportunities for a young learner.

An effective learning environment encourages learning through play with a rich set of materials and learning opportunities. An effective environment will also be responsive, containing features that involve all five senses and provoke thinking, open-ended outcomes, and creativity. For example, consider a nature table, an indoor fixture with branches, sticks, leaves, and perhaps some simple dolls or figures. There are textures, smells, things to see, and things to compare and play with in such an environment. A rich mixture of these textures and different objects creates a valuable play experience.

The social nature of the environment is also important. Does the environment contribute to social interaction between children or does it inhibit it? A preschool room should have more open space, collaborative activities, and stations or areas of interest. Social interaction between children gives them access to different perspectives while playing and gives them the opportunity to learn to interact.

So, why is this all important? The answer lies in the concept of brain plasticity. The brain is a complex organ that is constantly physically changing itself. Throughout our lives, the brain re-wires itself based on experiences and different environments. This is why rich environments in these early stages of development are so important. Not only are children learning new things in new environments, their brains are constantly applying knowledge of past experiences to newer ones! This is why the concept of not using learning spaces that are simply a background for learning, and instead creating responsive environments that generate interactive experiences, is so crucial to early learning.

Sources and Recommended Reading:

Isell, Rebecca, and Exelby, Betty. Early Learning Environments That Work. Beltsville, Maryland: Gryphon House, Inc., 2001. Print.

Growing Together Toolkit & Familiarization Webinar

Attachment and bonding are crucial to the healthy development of young children and their families. There are many factors that can influence healthy attachment. Maternal mental health issues in the perinatal period can affect the natural progression of family development and infant mental health.

As an accompaniment to the Mother’s Mental Health Toolkit: A Resource for the Community, the Growing Together Toolkit was developed for service providers and families to provide information about infant mental health, especially for mothers experiencing perinatal mental health or substance abuse issues. The Toolkit contains information about how to notice mental health problems in families and strategies for helping mothers get the support they need.

The Growing Together Toolkit takes a workbook-style approach. In-depth information in each section of the Toolkit is punctuated by checklists, resources for further reading on each subject, and most importantly, practical steps and strategies to help mothers and families in need.

There are two familiarization webinars being held to introduce community service providers to the tool. Sign-up for these one-hour webinars, which will be held on February 25th at 3:00PM and February 26th at 10:00AM, on the BC Council for Families website: February 25, 2015 or February 26, 2015.

Pan-Canadian Early Learning & Development Framework


The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) Early Learning and Development Framework is now available on the CMEC Web site.

The framework presents a pan-Canadian vision for early learning that can be adapted to the unique needs and circumstances of each province and territory. It is designed to serve as a resource to support the development of policies and initiatives by ministries and departments of education and their partners that enhance the quality and continuity of the learning experience in the early years and beyond.

CMEC Early Learning and Development Framework

Need more information? Visit the site at or join on Twitter at @CCMEC!