I am the chair of the board of directors of the non-profit society that governs the Salt Spring Early Learning Centre – the Gulf Islands Early Learning Society.
I am also the proud parent of two children who had the enormous benefit of attending the Salt Spring Early Learning Centre. One of those children is now in university, and the other in grade 12, but both regard the Centre’s teachers – our early childhood educators – as their second teachers, after their own parents. I have served as a member of the board since 2003, and regard it as giving back to this charity that gave so much to my children.
Since we began operation in 1978, we have witnessed the evolution from what was then known as “daycare” – with its “child-minding” vibe – to the deeper understanding of our purpose: early learning. We still find that some families are not completely aware of the research on the learning that takes place between the ages of 2½ to the beginning of kindergarten. Our certified early childhood educators (“ECEs”) have completed comprehensive training on the development of children in this age group, and implement that knowledge every day in our Centre.
In 2003, our Society began the process of raising funds to purchase a permanent home for the Centre, which had always rented space. In 2009, we received a legacy donation from a family whose daughter had attended the Centre. That donation, together with some mortgage financing and some savings, enabled us to purchase the property at 115 Drake Road, and move our Centre to the gorgeous “century home” at that location. We formally opened at our Drake Road location in January, 2013. We wish to express our enormous gratitude to our donors, who have chosen to remain anonymous.
Now that our Centre has a permanent home, we have turned our attention to the quality of early learning that takes place inside our Centre. Our society has established the goal that the Centre be on par with the best in the world … an ambitious goal, but our children are entitled to our very best efforts. We have implemented a plan to provide our ECEs with advanced training, first in Toronto, then in Reggio Emilia, Italy, at the leading early learning facility in the world. The first part of the training took place in June, 2015 when two of our ECEs attended a course at The Bishop Strachan School in Toronto.
In providing service to our community’s families, SS Early Learning Centre emphasizes three themes: quality, setting and history.
- Quality: our certified ECEs (early childhood educators) teach children aged 2½ to 6, in accordance with the best training and research. Remember: this isn’t “daycare” any longer, it’s authentic early childhood education. Our ECEs and our programs combine to create rich educational environments for your young child.
- Setting: our beautiful building sits in a wooded, natural environment, and next to our huge play area. In August, 2015, we completed our first hobbit playhouse, which will become a part of our hobbit-village playground!
- History: we have provided early childhood education to our community’s families for 37 years. The Centre began operation in 1978, and was formally incorporated under the British Columbia Society Act in 1983. We have been fortunate to have some of our past “graduates” come back as parents and volunteers!
I can be reached at email@example.com. Please contact me at your convenience if I may be of service to you.
Chair, Board of Directors
Gulf Islands Early Learning Society