Taking a hold of early learning in Golden

The Early Learning Care Stakeholder Action Group has been working hard to develope of an Early Learning Care Hub.

The Early Learning Care Stakeholder Action Group (ELCSAG) has been working hard this past year to keep the wheels in motion for the development of an Early Learning Care Hub.

They presented their progress and needs to the town council at a delegation during a Committee of the Whole Meeting on Nov. 13.

“These types of projects have been developed around the province, and they have had powerful and positive ripple effects throughout the communities. So that’s our end goal,” said Joanne McCullough, member of ELCSAG and director of the Early Childhood Development Coalition.

Ninety per cent of a child’s brain develops by age six, and an Early Learning Care Hub would be a way to balance the inequity of early childhood care in the community.

“In Canada, a child is born in the hospital, and can literally disappear for the first five years. Then they arrive in kindergarten,” said McCoullough. “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

ELCSAG has hired two champions, who are still under contract, to create a business plan which will be ready in January of 2013. They are currently working with the school district to find a location, and two possible spots are being looked at right now.

“Our goal is to open it… but once the building is in place, the Golden Community Resources Society will take it over,” said McCoullough.

ELCSAG, run by volunteers, is working on getting funding from the Columbia Basin Trust to hire a co-ordinator to get the facility opened.

They are also applying for a $5,000 Grant in Aid from the Town of Golden, as well as one of equal value from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

ELCSAG also requested that the town work with them on creating a Community Charter for Children and Families.

“This is something that’s been done around the province, and it allows communities to see early childhood development as they make their policies,” said McCullough.

Council will have further discussion regarding this initiative at a later meeting.