Residents explore pre-school choices

By Meg Olson

Point Roberts youth services librarian Rose Momsen is working with local families and educators to explore preschool options for local kids.

Currently local parents with preschool-age kids looking for a preschool program can drive to Blaine for a free program through the school district or pay for a number of options in Canada. “We are assembling a list at the library of parents interested in a local (Point Roberts) daycare or preschool option,” Momsen said.

On January 25, Momsen brought together Point Roberts Primary School teacher Mary Edgley and four early childhood educators from B.C. to talk about the programs they offer for young children.

“All of the schools emphasized play-based learning in a safe and nurturing environment, which is the key to the best mental development for your children,” Momsen said. “The Point Roberts Library provides another safe and fun environment for early literacy learning that is freely available three days a week.”

Jen McCrystal from the Tsawwassen First Nation’s Smuyuq’wa’ Lelum/Ladybug Lodge program brought an enticing display of multi-cultural toys and books to the meeting. “She emphasized her programs are open to the public; all cultures welcome,” Momsen said. Smuyuq’wa’ Lelum Early Childhood Development Centre offers flexible schedules for infant/toddlers, daycare up to 6 years old, and a preschool for 3- to 5-year-olds, using culturally enriched, early literacy, play-based programing.

Sweet Pea’s Licensed Family Daycare in Tsawwassen is a home-based childcare option for kids under 4 years old run by Katherine Praski. The program is small – four to five kids at a time – offering a variety of activities, including daily outings, crafts, games, science, cooking and outdoor play.

Cari Shorrock from Wind and Tide spoke about the broad range of programing they offer: preschool, junior kindergarten, flexible schedule childcare, after-school programs (to age 6) and kindergarten.

“With three decades of experience and over 30 locations, Wind and Tide is one of the best-known of the preschool options available to Point Roberts residents,” Momsen said. Located in Tsawwassen in the Benediction Lutheran Church at 6th and 56th Avenue, it focuses on intentional play-based learning opportunities through curriculum in art, social development, literacy, math, science and global awareness.

The Rainbow Connection Children’s Centre on 52A Street offers a wide range of fun children’s programs, Momsen said, also with very flexible schedules, from baby and group daycare to a preschool at Pebble Hill School. Vicky Harford explained the Rainbow Connection emphasizes meeting the needs of the whole child, including their physical needs, their cognitive and learning needs, their emotional and social needs and their spiritual needs, focusing on “The Golden Rule” and the “fruits of the spirit”: kindness, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness and self-control.

“One of their most popular activities is painting with chocolate pudding,” Momsen said. “It’s something kids seem to remember most fondly all their lives.”

Mary Edgley discussed how her K-3 one-room schoolhouse program functions. With four years of children learning together, a strong sense of family is created, with the older kids helping the younger ones. “With our great teacher/student ratio in Point Roberts Primary School, Mary is able to modify programs to meet the children’s needs, or advance in education as quickly as they wish,” Momsen said. Edgley encouraged parents of preschool-age children to explore their options for early learning.

“I’m sure there are a dozen families out there thinking about this. We just need to get the word out,” Momsen said. “Stop by the library or call 945-6545 to be added to the list.”

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