School awarded for warm welcomes

Brooklands School Welcome to Kindergarten program earns accolade


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This article was published 01/05/2015 (2769 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Brooklands School is giving its youngest students a head start.

The school’s Welcome to Kindergarten team received a Welcome to Kindergarten Award for Partnership Excellence from The Learning Partnership at the Manitoba Teachers’ Society on April 20.

The Learning Partnership is a charitable organization committed to enhancing publicly funded education in Canada. The organization’s Welcome to Kindergarten program helps prepare preschool children and their parents/caregivers for kindergarten through orientation sessions, learning and literacy resources and partnerships with community service agencies.

Photo by Jared Story Welcome to Kindergarten Manitoba program manager Deborah Thompson (right) presents Brooklands School principal Rex Ferguson-Baird with the Welcome to Kindergarten Award for Partnership Excellence at the Manitoba Teachers’ Society on April 20. Also pictured (from left): Brooklands Day Care Centre assistant director Dawn Collie, Brooklands School speech and language pathologist Leanne Peleck and kindergarten teacher Jennifer Blundon.

Receiving the award were the school’s principal Rex Ferguson-Baird, speech and language pathologist Leanne Peleck, kindergarten teacher Jennifer Blundon and former kindergarten teacher Cindy Yurechka (deceased).

Welcome to Kindergarten Manitoba program manager Deborah Thompson said the Brooklands team was one of eight teams across the country to win the award this year.

“They (the Brooklands team) engage with many partners that foster community connections and educational growth,” said Thompson in her speech during the award presentation.

“Like their partnership with the Brooklands Day Care Centre staff, who have become part of the professional learning community to study and respond to EDI (early development index) data and explore strategies to support young families. Like their partnership with a local car dealership, which provides cash support to the Grow Your Library program, providing a new book monthly to each kindergarten and Grade 1 student. Like their longstanding partnership and relationship with Norwest Co-op Community Health, which runs programs and services on parenting, nutrition, and cultural and community education right out of the school.”

Ferguson-Baird said Brooklands has offered the Welcome to Kindergarten program for nine years now. He said the program was formerly offered in the fall, but has moved to the spring.

“Traditionally, Welcome to Kindergarten happens in the spring, but for many years in our community we had people not registering their five-year-olds for school until September. We’ve been able to shift that trend,” Ferguson-Baird said.

Ferguson-Baird said approximately 30 per cent of Brooklands students are newcomers to Canada and many are economically disadvantaged, making a program like Welcome to Kindergarten even more critical.

“It’s a super important transition for everybody,” he said. “Moms and dads are letting their precious children come into the school system and sometimes it’s the first time children have been away from their parents, so we really want to emphasize and build a trust relationship with families because they’re bringing us their precious kids, and that’s a real honour.”

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