StrongStart deserves a better fate

Surrey – The Editor, Re: “Surrey school district faces $8M shortfall” the Now, May 27.

I was very concerned to hear discussions of the StrongStart program being affected by the budgetary concerns.

My eldest is in Grade 1 at Georges Vanier Elementary. We walk to school with my youngest, who is two. We have been attending the StrongStart program there since last September and we couldn’t be more pleased with the fantastic facilitators and the environment that has been created to allow these young children to socialize, learn and be safe.

This program has almost 200 families registered. This “strong start” can only have a total of something like 30 kids in at one time, so there are families who are actually being turned away every day because it is so busy.

There are so many reasons why the StrongStarts across Surrey should not be cut – but should, in fact, have added funding.

Here are just a few:. Parents get to have quality time playing with their young child (without the siblings), with educational toys and crafts they may not have access to at home in fun and creative ways.

Parents and caregivers get to bond with others, thus reducing the feeling of isolation that can come with being a single parent or a new immigrant/or resident of the neighbourhood or a parent of a special needs child. This is good information sharing time to build a community of people who may not have come together otherwise.

This program is hugely popular around the city of Surrey and I have heard from numerous families that they love their StrongStart program and highly recommend it to other parents. It’s a program that has helped our communities and I think it would be a shame if my family’s tax money did not go towards this program.

I hope the Surrey school district can find more creative ways to make cuts to the budget – or better yet, get more funding.

Chantelle Morvay-Adams

Surrey

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