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Enhancing the quality of early learning programs in the Abbotsford School District
The importance of the early years in a child's development has been well documented. The Abbotsford School District supports improving the health, social, emotional and educational outcomes for young children from birth through third grade by:
- enhancing the quality of early learning programs, and
- increasing the access to high quality early learning programs especially for young children at risk for school failure.
Children begin life ready for relationships that drive early brain development (Greenspan & Shanker, 2004). The abilities of children to regulate their own emotions, behaviors and attention increase over time with maturation, experience and responsive relationships. Supporting self-regulation is a central focus of early development because self-regulation skills lead to physical, social, emotional, behavioural and cognitive competence. Differing cultural and social contexts, including quality of stimulation, availability of resources and preferred patterns of interactions within communities, interact with each child’s potential for development (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2005; Greenspan & Shanker, 2004). Early brain development benefits from interactions with adults who are responsive and from activities that challenge young children. Access to shelter, clean water and food, and to developmental opportunities such as parks, and high-quality early childhood programs increases families’ abilities to be responsive and stimulating. Fewer resources make it more difficult to sustain optimal conditions for development. Early learning is defined as the knowledge, skills and dispositions that preschool children acquire in the years before school entry in key developmental domains: cognitive, physical, language and communication, social and emotional. The School District's vision for Abbotsford’s children and youth is that they have the opportunity to be the best they can be physically, socially, intellectually, and emotionally. The early years, from birth to age 8, set the foundation for lifelong learning. Offering our children a wide range of experiences in the early years can help achieve our government's commitment to make BC the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent. One of the commitments of Abbotsford School District's strategic plan is to ensure that more children are ready for success when they enter Kindergarten.