Powell River Board of Education
Learners Preparing for the Challenges of Tomorrow
StrongStart Centres in Powell River Schools

School District #47 is excited to continue building its StrongStart programs in Powell River schools.

2020/2021 SCHOOL YEAR

COVID-19 has definitely presented challenges to our community in terms of how to offer programming to families with young children.

The SD47 Early Learning team has been considering all the guidelines, procedures and protocols and have come up with a plan. StrongStart Outreach, in collaboration with the ORCA Bus project, will start offering a program on Wednesday September 30, 2020.  See the ORCA BUS site for scheduled stops. The program will look very different than the program we ran before March 2020.

Some highlights of the plan include:

  • The program will take place outside the bus. Participants should come prepared for any weather.
  • All participating children must be registered with the school district before they can attend.
  • Participants will sign up to attend our program. We are not able to accept drop-in participation. Families will express interest in attending by leaving a message at 604-414-2635. After leaving the message only families who receive phone confirmation will be able to attend.
  • Electronic attendance will be collected using either our ipad or personal devices by scanning a QR code.

We will start out slowly to make sure we run programs that are in line with current suggested practice. We hope to add more program options for families as we progress through this school year. 


StrongStart BC is a government initiated program offered in public schools throughout the province of BC. This initiative supports smooth and successful kindergarten transitions for children and families, supports families as the primary educators of their children, and makes school facilities and resources available to the preschool population. This free program runs as a drop-in for children birth to pre-kindergarten entry who are accompanied by their parent/caregiver. StrongStart also encourages the development of support between families, so encourages families to bring one unrelated child in addition to immediate family.

In September 2009 three Powell River elementary schools offered programs: Henderson Elementary School, James Thomson Elementary School, and Kelly Creek Community School. StrongStart Outreach on the ORCA Bus was added in February 2009 to address the learning needs of children in more remote neighbourhoods. 

During the 2013/2014 school year a new program at Stepping Stones was successfully piloted in Westview Elementary, and in September 2014, Early Learning programs in School District 47 were adapted to include a StrongStart Outreach program offered at Westview Elementary. In the spring of 2016, space constraints at James Thomson Elementary made it necessary to move the James Thomson StrongStart to Edgehill Elementary.

The Early Learning team uses data from provincial reports and responds to trends and needs in the district to plan, adapt and fine-tune programs in the School District. In response to these trends,  changes were made to School District Early Learning Programs for the 2016/2017 school year. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, programs days and times ran as outlined below. It is hoped that when the pandemic is over, programming at each of the previous locations will resume. 

Stepping Stones (Westview Elementary) is open 3 days per week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00am-noon.

The Edgehill StrongStart Outreach program is open 3 days per week: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am-noon. The program runs in portable #1 (under the covered area to the right of the Edgehill school office).

Both Henderson StrongStart and Kelly Creek StrongStart are open 5 days per week.  

Henderson is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8:45am-11:45 am, and Wednesday 11:45am-2:45 pm.   

Kelly Creek is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 8:30am-11:30 am and Thursday 11:30am-2:30 pm

Program schedules can be found by clicking the links for the individual school/program sites.

The StrongStart Outreach: ORCA Bus schedule varies and can be found on the StrongStart Outreach: ORCA Bus site. The ORCA Bus makes visits to both James Thomson and Texada schools. 

StrongStart programs run throughout the school year following the elementary school calendar (programs will not be in session on statutory holidays, two weeks at Christmas and at Spring Break as well as all elementary school district professional development days). 

Each program is facilitated by a certified Early Childhood Educator (ECE). Programs and activities are adapted to suit the age of participating children. Each child participating in StrongStart is registered with the Ministry of Education after completing the StrongStart registration form. To complete the registration process parents are asked to bring an official piece of identification (birth certificate, permanent residence card, certificate of citizenship, aboriginal status card, passport/visa). Registration information is used by the province to evaluate, plan and develop preschool programs provincially.

For questions, comments contact:

Rita John
Email: rita.john@sd47.bc.ca
Phone: (604) 485-6271 ext 2244
School Board Office: 4351 Ontario Avenue.