On April 24th, 80 kids and parents danced, sang and learned about Kindergarten opportunities at the Ready, Set, Learn event, hosted by Trout Lake Community Centre.
Jointly organized by three elementary schools: Beaconsfield, Laura Secord and Selkirk, kids aged 3 and 4 and their parents were treated to a morning of fun, stories and music. This event is the first time VSB elementary schools collaborated on the initiative, instead of hosting the event separately.
"We weren't sure how it'd go or what to expect. It was the first time we ever did this," says Vanessa Mani of Selkirk Elementary's Inner City/Community Outreach team. "But this was such an amazing result! We accomplished exactly what we wanted to do."
After an aboriginal greeting, Kensington Library's children's librarian Ning Ding treated kids to a story and encouraged parents to sign their children up for library cards.
Children were then invited to sing, led by entertainer Sue Malcolm whose repertoire included the Alphabet Song and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. But it was Malcolm's rousing Hokey Pokey that had the 80 kids and their parents dancing. Even staff couldn't resist joining in.
Malcolm asked the crowd to show their hands if they were excited for Kindergarten. Many little hands flew into the air amid cheers and applause.
Ready, Set, Learn is a provincial initiative designed to introduce young children and their parents to school, as well as support community organizations.
As children took to the obstacle courses staffed by leadership students from Gladstone Secondary, parents visited displays from organizations such as Vancouver Coastal Health and the VCC Tooth Trolley.
Derek Cavanagh, principal of Selkirk Elementary, says that the event gives parents an opportunity to see the uniqueness of VSB's schools. "By showcasing our partners and community groups, new parents are made aware of all the resources available for them and their children," says Cavanagh. "This demonstrates how our schools are uniquely tied into the community."
Parent Max Birch attended the event with his son Lucas. Having recently moved to Vancouver from the U.K., Birch says that the Ready Set Learn event was a great way to meet other parents and kids in the catchment area.
"We just arrived three weeks ago and have been very happy learning about the services offered," says Birch. Having enrolled his daughter at Selkirk Elementary, he is now looking at Kindergarten for his son. "We came to this event to learn about our options and I'm very pleased with what I'm seeing."
"That's exactly what we want to hear," says Mani. "This event is about getting people together and introducing them to the community. Our community has so much to offer. Why not share it?"