Pemberton, Whistler ready for literacy day 

Ready, Set, Learn gets three-year-olds school ready

By Cindy Filipenko

If you have, or no someone who has, a three-year-old, you need to be at Ready, Set, Learn on Wednesday, Jan 31. That’s the message from Signal Hill Elementary school vice-principal Lisa Grigat.

Grigat’s enthusiasm for increasing kids’ literacy also says that the one-hour workshop is going to be fun.

The two-year-old provincial program was introduced as part of Premier Gordon Campbell’s commitment to making B.C. the most literate province by 2010. The program, supported by school-sponsored interactive nights with parents and children is an intensive introduction to getting children ready for school.

“What they’re saying is that literacy is the foundation for learning and skills development,” said Grigat.

According to Grigat, an advocate of whole child education, the program has numerous benefits including reducing the level of anxiety that surrounds going off to school for the first time.

“Not only in the kid, but in the parents, too. Sometimes it’s the parents who have more anxiety,” jokes Grigat.

But when it comes to the value of Ready, Set, Learn, Signal Hill’s new vice-principal is serious about the importance of school preparedness.

“It gives them a chance to set up their routine and try things. The whole idea is that the program gets the preschooler ready and that you build capacity in the parent. At the same time you tap into the resources that are available in the community.”

As well as providing parents with a gift bag full of ideas and support materials such as crayons, playing cards, pencils, glue and craft instructions for making learning hands on, the Ready, Set, Learn evening will also be attended by representatives of local child health services. Among the professionals attending will be a dental hygienist, community public health nurse, audiologist and speech and language pathologist and a daycare operator. All will be on hand to answer parent questions and, if need be, begin to address any areas of concern.

In Whistler, Myrtle Philip students will be dressing up as literary characters Friday, Jan. 26 as part of the school’s Family Literacy Day activities.

Spring Creek school will also host reading and writing events on Jan. 26, including having community leaders come in and read.

And on Sunday, Jan. 28 the Whistler Public Library will host its second annual scrabble tournament between 4 and 9 p.m. A $5 entry fee covers treats, prizes and refreshments.

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