Recent History – 2002
April 15, 2002
DAWSON CREEK — Even in times of tight budgets, early childhood development remains a major priority for the B.C. Liberal government.
That was shown Thursday when Peace River South MLA Blair Lekstrom presented a cheque for $21,000 to South Peace Child Development Centre manager Ruth Westcott.
The money is a one-time grant which will support the province’s action plan for early childhood development. Specifically, the money will be used for such endeavours as promoting health pregnancy, birth and infancy; improving parenting and family supports; promoting early childhood development, learning and care; and strengthening community capacity supports.
Westcott said the grant is both very welcome and very significant and will help generate a strong return in terms of triggering additional volunteer hours spent at the centre. She also said that early childhood development a good investment in the future.
“Research shows that by providing adequate support to children when they’re young the outcome is really improved,” she said. “They will learn better, they’ll succeed in school better, they’ll have less health problems.”
Early childhood development focuses on nutrition, stimulation, and proper care. Social interaction also plays a key role — and to that end, a preschool is housed at the centre.
“If you learn to share and take turns and listen, as you see the little kids in the preschool doing, the likelihood that the child will be comfortable in groups, and form friendships and succeed in a school setting — and in a work setting — is much higher,” she said.
Lekstrom presented the cheque on behalf of the Ministry of Children and Family Development. He also helped identify possible early childhood intervention projects in the Peace River South constituency.