VICTORIA –BC is investing $125,000 to expand the Just B4 early childhood education program, which is specifically designed to support children the year before they enter kindergarten. Just B4 is a half-day licensed pre-school child care program for three- to four-year-olds.
The program will be expanding from one to six districts this school year.
Just B4 started in School District 67 (Okanagan Skaha) during the 2020-21 school year and will expand to five districts in the 2021-22 school years. New districts receiving the program include: SD 34 Abbotsford (Dormick Park Elementary); SD 46 Sunshine Coast (Halfmoon Bay Elementary); SD 38 Richmond; SD 70 Pacific Rim; and SD 73 Kamloops-Thompson (Arthur Hatton Elementary). Schools for the Richmond and Pacific Rim school districts are to be determined, as they are in the process of obtaining licences. This expansion is expected to increase from 10 to more than 70 spaces. Programs will be open as many as five days per week during the school year.
“The first Just B4 pilot program at Columbia Elementary has been a great success. This program provides a positive and nurturing early learning experience while supporting children as they prepare to learn, grow and transition to kindergarten,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education.
Just B4 operates in conjunction with existing StrongStart BC (SSBC) program by using available SSBC spaces in schools.
It is a licensed preschool program under the child care licensing regulation that uses public school spaces.
The First Peoples Principles of Learning and the Early Learning Framework are the foundational documents used as the curriculum for the program, and districts are responsible for associated quality expectations within these frameworks.
Currently, 329 StrongStart BC programs are offered in B.C. These programs are intended for attendance by children until age five, along with their parent or caregiver.