Q7 for Better Schools: TOL PROGRAMS

BETTER LANGLEY: Knowing the challenges with the TOL running programs like ABTB within school spaces, how do you see programs like this moving forward?  Do you see this as a recreation or childcare dilemma?


A note about highlighted answers: Better Langley favourites are selected based on discussions with dozens of parents, teachers, local politicians. Each question had select criteria that the aforementioned stakeholders found to be of the greatest importance and I have done my best to represent these. Additionally, my own academic background in political science, philosophy, religious studies, and real estate all provide its own knowledge base, process of critical thought, and, yes, biases. In order to reduce personal bias toward any candidate or organization, however, answers were read anonymously, separate from the candidate before selecting a “favourite” to highlight.


RAI (Contract with Langley): This a program which I would like to see more of moving forward. Programs like this keeps children active and assists with child care. Cut back in programs like this is only a set back and that’s why I will advocate to have more programs like this available within our community

LOCKHART (Independent): I see this as a childcare dilemma that the Provincial Government is needlessly downloading onto the education system, while causing undo stress to parents, teachers and students. I want to recognize that childcare is a very important form of education. However, it is most successful when done informally. Much like Kindergarten, it should be primarily routed in “play based” learning. What we are seeing in programs like ABTB and the new pilot projects like the “seamless” day as a band aid on affordable childcare under the guise of education.

Speaking with educators, it has been brought to my attention that the “best” way for a child to develop in their early years, is through play based structure and regular changes in their daily environment from the “built” to the “natural.” We see learning fatigue and disassociation from active learning when children are kept in the same classroom for the entirety of the day.

Also, by not having dedicated spaces for these programs, and sharing with established classrooms, we are seeing teachers lose their autonomy, safety, and structure of their classrooms and work space. Classroom teachers should be able to set up and leave their professional space without the implications of a before or after school program impeding their work day and affecting the educational delivery model the teacher has set up to best meet the needs of the students. I strongly support before and after school care for children, we just need to work with the Ministry to ensure that there are appropriate spaces available, at the right cost, with enough trained individuals. Not the half measures it currently is.

PERREAULT (Independent): Active Beyond the Bell (ABTB) is a recreation program that runs for two hours after dismissal in the gymnasium of participating schools and certain Community Centre’s that, as a result of low enrollment and staffing shortages was suspended in certain Schools. ABTB is a TOL recreational program which was not intended to be a childcare solution and again is not run by the Langley School District. That being said, the conversation put forward within social media demonstrated there is a clear need for stronger supports in childcare that needs to be evaluated that include trained Early Childhood Educators (ECE). The Langley School District has recently launched a dual credit program to begin training interested students to earn high school and post-secondary school credits to ready them for the workforce moving them towards certification with their ECE Certificate. Additionally we have observed at the final Public Board Meeting, our Superintendent indicate that as a District, we have extended our space, staff to support and to be used as a portal for advertising communication purposes. As a School District as we grow in our “Seamless Day Kindergarten” program, we look forward to expanding inclusive care and early learning within our Kindergarten classrooms. This program is making use of existing space outside of school hours.

DICKINSON (Contract with Langley): ABTB and programs like it, are incredibility valuable to the community. The ToL really dropped the ball this summer, causing a lot chaos for many families. The school board should have been contacted and alternative solutions sought prior to making the decision to close down some of the locations.

It is BOTH a rec and childcare dilemma- supporting families must have a multifaceted approach that includes collaboration between the province, municipalities, school board, unions, and private sector.

Caring for our children and families does not begin and end with posted bell schedules. It may not be currently the “job” of the school board to help in the facilitation these programs, but it most certainly is best practice to do so.

TURNER (Independent): Due to the issues with your online account, I have chosen not to fill out the survey.

WAKELIN (Independent): I see this as a childcare dilemma because for too long parents have had to utilize services like ABTB for something it was never intended to be–which is childcare. The ABTB program is a wonderful recreational program for our kids and yet, it is not technically childcare. For far too long, there simply hasn’t been the political will to truly solve the issue. There are many local experts in this field and I would love to see both the TOL and SD35 utilize this knowledge to find solutions. There have been some provincially mandated changes to address the issue, but I am always a fan of listening to lived experience.

WILSON (Independent): From what I know about Active Beyond the Bell, which is solely what was released by the Township of Langley, as it is a Township program not a school district program, it was cancelled due to a combination of staffing shortage and low interest and/or enrolment. I am still unsure why this one program garnered so much attention, when all types of recreational sports programs get canceled all the time if there is a lack of coaches or interest. The ToL is a third-party user, which the school district has hundreds of; they rent a space from the school district just like a basketball program or boy scouts might. If every canceled third-party rental became the school board’s dilemma, it would become unmanageable; we just aren’t equipped to deal with that. The focus of the school district is to provide quality educational services to our students. I do see an opportunity with the Ministry of Education and Childcare implementing childcare spots in schools many of which will be for before and after school care, to include outdoor and active physical education initiatives.

ROSS (Independent): Active Beyond the Bell is a welcome addition to families need for recreation AND childcare. The school district needs all partners to come to the table and I am grateful for programs like this as an option for parents. “It takes a village to raise a child” is the saying and I applaud all efforts to help families whatever their need may be. We cannot do everything and I am again very grateful for the work being done after school with programs like this.

FOX (Independent): Personally, I see this as a recreation agenda, this program is outside the school day and the school’s mandate. I feel the after school usage of school facilities is an excellent idea as they are public buildings paid for by the taxpayer and therefore extra hours usage is important.

The MCFD ministry has recently moved pre-school childcare in to the realm of the Ministry of Education. The District has been proactive in this regard with this transition to the pre-school childcare portfolio being assigned to one of the District Assistant Superintendents. Further, a District principal (Mrs. K. Anderson),  has been assigned to facilitate the transition, talk to the various agencies involved, and work to make a smooth and effective transition in to the existing school mandate, K-12. The District has two pilots for the ‘Seamless Day’ program which is seen as an excellent first step and will be looked at for implementation on a District wide basis.

NEUFELD (Contract with Langley): There should be no challenge with the Township running programs like Active Beyond the Bell. The Board of Education should work with Mayor and council, in both Langleys, to create more spaces. This is a dilemma for both recreation and childcare as both help create social opportunities for the growth of the child’s social-emotional maturity.

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