Early Learning in South Surrey

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By Mellisa Collins

When it comes to preschool, there are many options available in Surrey, and sometimes the options, curriculums, and variances can get overwhelming. However, one seems to be more unique and forward thinking than the rest, and it’s garnering a lot of interest and accolades including the 2014 Province of BC Child Care Award of Excellence. A new outdoor preschool program is slated to start in Spring/Summer of 2016. It’s the Preschool Program offered through The City of Surrey, and its philosophy and quality of care is becoming a gold standard in the Early Learning arena of British Columbia.

It is the Preschool Program offered through The City of Surrey, and its philosophy and quality of care is becoming a gold standard in the Early Learning arena of British Columbia.

You’ll find that the philosophy and core values of the City of Surrey’s early learning programs are somewhat unique. To understand the City of Surrey’s approach, one must first understand the Reggio Emilia approach to early learning. The Reggio Emilia method (based out of the geographic location of Reggio Emilia in Italy) garnered worldwide attention after Time magazine a few years back featured the preschools on its cover. The Reggio program takes an approach based around certain fundamental values about how children learn. These values include respect, responsibility, and community, taught through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum. Essentially, the children learn through a responsive, non-structured system, where the child’s interests and ideas are fostered by their teachers and shaped into learning. There is also a large focus on the natural environment and nature, and there are very few, if any, marketed or “structured” playthings in the classroom. For example, if a child wishes to play kitchen, they will build their idea of what a kitchen contains, instead of having the parts readily available to them.

It also places a lot of importance on the “hundred languages of children”, which refers to the many ways that children have of expressing themselves – particularly through art, dramatic play, writing and sculpting. Reggio teachers, as well as the City of Surrey’s ECE teachers, provide children different avenues for thinking, revising, constructing, negotiating, developing and symbolically expressing their thoughts and feelings – and this is found to foster a love of learning, an acceptance of each other, and a freedom to learn through play.

The City of Surrey’s Early Learning program is a wonderful, play based and fun environment in which the children prosper and learn according to their own interests. With a responsive curriculum that is supported by the Provincial Early Learning Framework, the educator develops the program as they listen and observe the children in play. In this education style, the students become part of an engaged, reflective program that is based on their interests.

Surrey’s programs build independence and self-confidence in its students, and will encourage creativity, promotes sharing and problem solving, aids in concept building and guides speech and language development. Further, Surrey’s educators are dedicated to developing each child’s social, emotional, physical, creative, communication, literacy and cognition skills.

The City of Surrey offers over 85 programs at 23 unique sites throughout the city and employs 90+ highly qualified, passionate Early Childhood Educators. All programs are competitively affordable, offer scheduled payments and are eligible for subsidy where needed.

For more information on the City of Surrey’s award-winning preschool program, visit the City of Surrey’s Preschool Page.

Early registration for the City of Surrey’s 2016-2017 preschool program for both 3 and 4-year-old classes begins at 8:30am on Thursday March 3, 2016!

Don’t delay and miss your spot, contact 604-501-5100 to register.

Melissa Collins is a Community Services Assistant in the City of Surrey, an avid writer/blogger, and mother of two girls, ages 2 and 5.

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