Education Minister George Abbott climbed aboard the WonderWheels bus and also visited TinyTown, the newest StrongStart BC program in the Sunshine Coast school district (SD 46).
WonderWheels brings early learning services to children and families in isolated communities on the coast, including Egmont, Sechelt, Davis Bay, Garden Bay and the Langdale/Gibsons area. It is a weekly, mobile StrongStart BC program that provides a play space where children five and under can have fun with their parents or caregivers.
Inside the bus, visitors can play with puzzles and toys, read books and participate in different activities facilitated by an early childhood educator. For example, kids and their families in Davis Bay can drop in to WonderWheels' "Wee Sing by the Sea" singing session. The bus has welcomed approximately 90 young visitors since opening in September.
To meet the demands of the increasingly popular Sechelt Learning Centre, the district created TinyTown, a role-play StrongStart BC room. Inside the TinyTown room, children and their families can engage in imaginative play in child-sized settings, including a market, post office, cafe, barn, house and ferry. A total of 284 children have visited TinyTown since its opening in September.
The Sunshine Coast school district received $20,000 to start these new programs and another $32,000 to fund this year's operating costs, including staff, professional development, supplies and healthy snacks.
- Currently SD 46 has five StrongStart BC centres and one StrongStart BC outreach program, WonderWheels.
- There are 326 StrongStart BC programs serving more than 385 communities throughout the province.
- Since 2006, the Sunshine Coast district has received $690,900 to fund its StrongStart BC programs.
- In 2010, 4,896 children visited the Sechelt Learning Centre, with an overall average of 27 children per day.
- In 2010, 834 families attended the StrongStart BC programs on the Sunshine Coast with a total of 13,415 visits. From September to October 2011, 117 families attended the programs with a total of 353 visits.
- In 2010-11, there were more than 592,000 visits to StrongStart BC programs throughout the province and approximately 31,000 children attended a StrongStart BC program.
To learn about StrongStart BC programs, visit: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/early_learning/strongstart_bc/
For more information about the Sunshine Coast school district's early learning programs, visit: http://www.sd46earlylearning.ca/
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education