BURTTS CORNER, NB, May 19 /CNW/ - An innovative new children's centre
officially opened its doors here today at a local school packed with
kids, parents, government and community officials. Special guests
Premier David Alward and Education and Early Childhood Development
Minister Jody Carr toured the facility and chatted with children,
parents and staff.
Called "Start SMART," the program is a unique partnership between
Keswick Valley Memorial School, Family Resource Centres, District 14 of
the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
and Neighbours Alliance of North York, the community organization that
oversees the project. The project is supported by the Government of New
Brunswick and the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family
Operating out of Keswick Valley Memorial School, the program reaches out
to local families offering nine licensed child care spots and 20 spaces
in its after-school program. In addition there are school-based child
and parent activities, resources and information.
Community activist Shana Brewer attended the opening. "As the mother of
four children under the age of seven, I'm very pleased to have this
centre in our community and I'm very honoured to be part of this
Wayne Annis, the principal of Keswick Valley Memorial School points to
the valuable educational and recreational opportunities the program
provides preschool children. "It is exciting to see children better
prepared for their school experience and coming to school with less
trepidation," he says.
The Start SMART partnership is the fourteenth program in Atlantic Canada
to receive support from the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family
Foundation. A grant of $50,000 is helping to support start up and
program development costs for Keswick Valley Start SMART.
The Foundation works with provincial governments and local communities
to combine the resources of public health, family support, child care
and kindergarten into effective early childhood and family programs.
Aligned with schools and operated within a provincial framework, these
full service centres are best practice models in early childhood
programming, policy and system design.
"If children are going to receive the smart start they need to succeed
in school and in life, we--governments, communities and
foundations--need to act smarter to support them," says Carol Loughrey,
board member for the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation.
"Each of the centres our Foundation supports in Atlantic Canada is
unique because each community is unique. Families want to be actively
involved in shaping the programming their children receive but across
the region they all want and need the same thing: an accessible
location where they can find parenting advice, child care,
preschool and support if their child has special needs."
"I am pleased that the MWMFF has made our center possible by having
faith in our organization and small community," said Chris Bubar, chair
of the Keswick Valley Start SMART initiative. "We have seen the
positive benefits of having our children and parents involved in our
school and early learning programs."
The early childhood demonstration sites the Foundation supports undergo
regular evaluation by the Health and Education Research Group at the
University of New Brunswick and researchers from the University of
Moncton. Later in the day, participants visited another early childhood
demonstration site in nearby Bath, where families and guests received
an overview of progress to date. The Bath site is one of four in New
Brunswick jointly supported by the Province and the Foundation.
Other special guests to the opening and overview are Member of
Parliament, Mike Allen; MLA, Kirk MacDonald; former Nova Scotia
Premier, Dr. John Hamm; and President and CEO of the IWK Health Centre
(Halifax), Anne McGuire.
SOURCE The Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation
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