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Early Learning

Gulf Islands School District believes that learning is a holistic process and strives to enhance partnerships with families, early learning and care professionals, primary educators, and community partners. These connections enrich the continuous growth of children’s knowledge and understanding of themselves, others, and the world.

We strive to create spaces and programs through an inclusive lens and provide opportunities and supports for families and young children (birth to age 8). We are committed to creating positive, welcoming, and nurturing environments to support early development and spark joy for lifelong learning.

SD64 is happy to offer a range of programs:

  • Birth to age 5
  • StrongStart
  • Ready, Set, Learn initiatives 
  • Welcome to Kindergarten (WTK)
  • Strengthening Early Years to Kindergarten Transitions (SEY2KT)
  • School-aged (Kindergarten to Grade 3) 
  • Roots of Empathy
  • Seamless Day
  • ECEs in classrooms (September Kindergarten transitions)


Birth to age 5 Programs:

StrongStart BC:

Children (birth to age five) are accompanied by a parent or caregiver, and are asked to register and drop-in to this free, early learning program. Educators create rich learning environments that are thoughtfully designed to foster play-based learning and support early learning development (i.e., language, physical, cognitive, social and emotional learning). 

Programs run from October to June and operational days follow the SD64 Calendar (i.e., programs are not open over breaks/holidays).

School District Calendar

Learn more about StrongStart BC

SD64 StrongStart sites:

(also called ‘ELF’ and ‘Early Learning for Families’)

Fulford Community Elementary School

Salt Spring Elementary School

Fernwood Elementary School

Galiano Community School

Mayne Island School

Pender Islands Elementary Secondary School

Saturna Elementary School

Please call the site for current program days/times.



Ready, Set, Learn

Elementary schools host Ready, Set, Learn events in their schools and/or communities to foster connections between families, the school, and community partners. These events are intended for children (3-5 years old) and their families, supporting children’s transitions into school. 

Learn more about Ready, Set, Learn

Schools will advertise upcoming Ready, Set, Learn events in the community.

Welcome to Kindergarten is one of these events organized by each school for incoming children and their families in preparation for their transition to Kindergarten.

SEY2KT (Strengthening Early Years to Kindergarten Transitions)

SEY2KT is a Ministry of Education and Child Care project, strengthening connections between the school district and local community partners in support of young children and their families. SD64 and community partners work collaboratively to create opportunities that support the transition from home to Kindergarten.  

Upcoming events will be advertised by the district and community partners.



School-Aged Programs (K–3)

Roots of Empathy

Roots of Empathy is a specialized program delivered by a trained Roots of Empathy Instructor in partnership with school districts. The program is targeted to elementary schools and supports children in building empathy, social and emotional well-being, and positive mental health.

Learn more about Roots of Empathy

Seamless Day

Seamless Day Kindergarten is Ministry of Education and Child Care pilot program that strives to support smooth transitions for Kindergarten students by offering before/after school care within Kindergarten classrooms. The program provides care and learning support throughout the day by the Kindergarten classroom teacher and Certified Early Childhood Educators (ECEs).

*This program is currently being piloted at Fulford Community School*

ECEs in Kindergarten Classrooms

For the month of September, StrongStart sites are closed and StrongStart facilitators work alongside teachers in classrooms to support the transition of children into Kindergarten.



Resources for Families

SD64 Kindergarten Registration

SD64 information and resources for Kindergarten registration

Play Today Guide for Families: Learn more about different play-based approaches for children (3 – 8 years old) and how they support development and learning.

Let’s Play! Activities for Families: Activities developed by the Ministry of Education and Child Care for families to support play-based learning in early childhood.

Early Learning Framework Guide for Families: Learn about the framework that guides the practice of educators and ways to connect these experiences at home.

Guiding Children’s Behaviour: Ways to teach, guide, and support children as they learn and grow.

Appetite to Play: Healthy Eating and Physical Literacy in the Early Years

Roots of Reading: Videos created by the VPL (Vancouver Public Library) for parents and families with information and activities to support literacy development in the early years.

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