New Surrey program offers head start for local children

SURREY — Parents whose children aren’t quite old enough to join the ranks of the K-12 needn’t wait for father time to kick into gear. The Surrey school district is offering a new program designed to encourage early childhood education.

A new partnership between the school district, SFU Surrey and Central City Shopping Centre has led to the creation of the Early Learning Families drop-in program. As the name suggests, the program allows parents of young children to attend drop-in sessions at Central City mall and get a head start on their education.

According to Pat Horstead, assistant superintendent for the district’s Community-Schools Partnership department, the new program is targeted primarily for parents who aren’t able to attend the school-based StrongStart program.

"We thought, if they’re not coming to us, we would go to them and show them what we offer and connect them with services."

The drop-in session will offer parents information on how they can engage their children to foster learning and will demonstrate methods to encourage literacy. There will also be resources for parents to connect with other community programming in support of childhood development.

"Collectively, we hope to encourage families who might not yet have the opportunity to engage with existing programs at Surrey Schools to take part in this program and others in the district," said Matthew Grant, associate director of marketing, communications and partnerships at SFU Surrey.

The Early Learning for Families sessions will be held on the second floor of Central City Shopping Centre near Winners between 10 a.m. and noon on the first and third Wednesday of each month of the school year. The next session will be Wednesday (March 4), and due to spring break there will not be one on March 18. The program will then resume on April 1.

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