Helen Ward, President
Kids First Parent Association of Canada
March 4, 2007 [sic]
Our Ref: 124874
Dear Helen Ward:
Thank you for your email dated February 29, 2008, sent to the Honourable
Shirley Bond, Minister of Education, regarding your concerns about child
care and the Early Childhood Learning Agency's feasibility study which
was announced in the 2008 Throne Speech. As the Executive Director for
Early Learning, I am pleased to respond on her behalf.
Government envisions a future for British Columbia in which all youth
have the opportunity to be the best they can be physically, socially,
intellectually and emotionally. One of the commitments of Government's
strategic plan is to ensure that more children are ready for success
when they enter Kindergarten.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has the primary
responsibility for early childhood development and child care services.
Although the federal government cancelled the 2005 Early Learning and
Child Care Agreement, MCFD continues to provide operating funding to
child care providers and support access to quality early learning and
child care services through the Child Care Subsidy Program.
The Ministry of Education has encouraged school districts to utilize
vacant classroom space for early learning programs such as StrongStart
BC Early Learning centres, whenever possible, as schools are an ideal
location for these services. The Ministry of Education recognizes the
importance of parent involvement in all aspects of children's learning
and development and our StrongStart BC Early Learning centres were
designed based on the principle that parents/caregivers are children's
first and most important teachers.
In regard to the recent Throne Speech announcement, the purpose of the
new Early Childhood Learning Agency will be to assess the feasibility
and costs of full-day kindergarten for five-year olds. It will also
undertake a feasibility study of providing parents with the choice of
day-long kindergarten for four-year-olds by 2010, and for
three-year-olds by 2012.
The feasibility study will explore multiple options, and create
opportunities for input and consultation with many stakeholders,
including key academics in child development, experts in early learning,
teachers, early childhood educators, parents, caregivers, community
agencies, service providers, Boards of Education, as well as
representatives from a variety of government agencies. The exact details
about who will participate in the Early Childhood Learning Agency are
currently being considered by Ministry of Education staff.
Research tells us that children who experience a variety of early
learning opportunities and develop key skills and dispositions, are more
likely to be successful in school and in life. Our goal is to explore
those options, and provide choices based on the needs of families and
I appreciate your feedback and the research you provided related to
early learning and child care. Thank you for sharing your concerns with
the Ministry of Education, we will take your suggestions into
(original sent by email)
Diversity, Equity & Early Learning
Partnerships and Planning Division