Abbotsford, BC -A new resource has opened for parents of young children in Abbotsford. The Abbotsford Early Years Centre, located in the Sweeney Neighbourhood Centre adjacent to Abbotsford Senior Secondary, is a one-stop location for parents to find out information about learning, health and family services, including: childcare, parenting, child development, referrals for social supports, special needs services, early intervention therapies, and public health services. The new centre – one of 26 in BC – is coordinated through the Abbotsford Early Childhood Committee Partner’s Table (‘AECCPT’), working with the Abbotsford School District.
“Support for young learners has been a priority for the Abbotsford Board of Education over the past several years, and our involvement in this new Early Years’ Centre reflects the continuing commitment we have for childhood development and support,” said Board of Education Chair Cindy Schafer, at the centre’s official opening today. “We are pleased to work with community partners to make this resource available to parents in our district.”
“The Early Childhood Centre is a great addition to the early childhood programs available to parents and families in Abbotsford,” said Wayne Green, executive director, United Way Fraser Valley and Chair of AECCPT. “We often talk about hard to reach families. What we are really talking about is families who aren’t aware of programs or services for their young children. Having the centre here will mean that parents who might not be aware of early childhood programs, will now have access.”
There are currently 26 provincially branded Early Years Centres located across BC, which represent a range of innovative approaches offering one-stop, convenient access to information, services and referrals for families with young children. Each centre offers a variety of programs, services and supports tailored to the needs of their community.
“Building on what is currently present in communities, BC Early Years Centres are about communities working together to ensure that families have access to early years services that foster the health, well-being and development of children,” noted Cindy Romanowski, the district’s Principal of Early Learning.
In 2013, the provincial government released the BC Early Years Strategy, which focuses on a “one government” approach to coordinate cross-ministry partnerships in conjunction with communities. A key component of the Strategy is the development of a network of BC Early Years Centres across the province. The role of a BC Early Years Centre is:
- To be a welcoming and supportive physical or virtual place.
- To welcome diversity.
- To offer a range of services and programs encompassing health, education and early childhood development.
- To provide information and referrals about early years services, including child care.
The new centre is open to all parents on a free, drop-in basis. Hours are 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday on the first floor of the Sweeney Neighbourhood Centre, adjacent to Abbotsford Library and Abbotsford Senior Secondary, 33355 Bevan Way.