Prepping early for the ABCs

Whatever three-year-olds ponder in their daily lives — Sesame Street, candy, Play-Doh — school probably isn’t part of the list.

Kindergarten student Chelsey DeGroot takes advantage of a building set during playtime at John Stubbs Memorial school. The Sooke School District is encouraging parents with kids nearing kindergarten age to attend a Ready Set Learn event on Wednesday at Westshore Town Centre.

Whatever three-year-olds ponder in their daily lives — Sesame Street, candy, Play-Doh — school probably isn’t part of the list.

The Sooke School District, though, is hoping to get parents with young kids thinking about school and what their child needs as they enter kindergarten.

Through funding from the Ministry of Education’s Ready Set Learn program, SD 62 is hosting an event to make the step into the education system less daunting, for parents and preschoolers.

Hosted at Westshore Town Centre on Feb. 2, the school district and other agencies, such a the Greater Victoria Public Library, will set up a series of booths for parents to ask questions get information and from teachers, principals and other educators.

The event will have activities for preschoolers and will be followed up with open houses at all elementary schools across the district.

“For families, it’s an opportunity to think about schooling early on,” said Frances Krusekopf, SD 62 district principal for curriculum and programs. “(The event) has a lot of value for families without children already in the school system. We want to be emphasizing that three- year-olds need to get ready for kindergarten.”

Karen Goreas teaches kindergarten at John Stubbs Memorial school and has offered advice to parents at previous Ready Set Learn events. Reading early and reading often is her No. 1 point.

“Students who have parents interested in reading with them definitely makes a big difference,” Goreas said. “You can tell the students who have been read to a lot. They’re more engaged and able to listen to stories better, and to pick things out when we talk about them.”

Ready Set Learn is one facet of early childhood learning offered in SD 62, Krusekopf said, a concept which has continuing support from the Ministry of Education.

Ready Set Learn has funded programs such as Mother Goose nursery rhyme sessions and Books For Breakfast, and the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s early childhood learning program in Langford.

Moreover, the district now has five Strong Start centres within elementary schools, which offer free drop in space for parents with kids five and younger.

“Early childhood learning has been on the agenda for a long time now,” Krusekopf said. “The key piece is that (the ministry) continues to provide funding. They see this as being important.”

The Ready Set Learn event is Feb. 2, noon to 4 p.m. at Westshore Town Centre. Parents and preschoolers are welcome.

The district is hosting the same event on same day at SEAPARC centre in Sooke, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On Feb. 3 and 4, SD 62 elementary schools are hosting public open houses during school hours.

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