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Nothing like a “StrongStart” start to the morning Nothing like a “StrongStart” start to the morning
  I LOVE STRONGSTART.  My 17 month old daughter LOVES StrongStart.  Any of my friends who have attended StrongStart with their child(ren) LOVE StrongStart! If... Nothing like a “StrongStart” start to the morning



Norgate StrongStart

I LOVE STRONGSTART.  My 17 month old daughter LOVES StrongStart.  Any of my friends who have attended StrongStart with their child(ren) LOVE StrongStart!

If you have not had the chance to take your infant/toddler/child to StrongStart, do yourself a huge favour and try it out one day… maybe even tomorrow!

The who/what/where/when/why of StrongStart:

Who? – Parents of kids aged 0-5 years old are welcome to partake in their local StrongStart program. I personally believe it is the most entertaining, beneficial and fun for toddlers (ages 1 year-4 years). Having said that, I first brought my daughter at 10 months and she had a great time in the ‘baby area’ of the room.

What? – StrongStart is a FREE program that is run by the Government of BC public school system.  The program facilitators, a.k.a the teachers, are certified in Early Childhood Education (E.C.E.). Each classroom is laid-out in a way that mimics a typical preschool/kindergarten classroom.  There are different stations/areas in the room such as a painting easel, a reading corner, an art table, a puzzle corner, etc.  Your child is free to move from one area to the next (under your and the teacher’s supervision) and experiment with the variety of stations, toys, materials in the room.  Additionally, the teachers will often have an area reflecting a theme, such as bugs or nature or trucks (or… or… or…) and there will be a selection of books and other materials for your child to explore.

Norgate StrongStart

Where?- On the North Shore, there are 9 schools which host a StrongStart classrorom (7 in North Vancouver and 2 in West Vancouver).  Check one out close to your home or you can even do a ‘StrongStart hop’ if you would like to find the one that suits you/your child best.  Some of the schools tend to cater to older children, based on the demographic of the children who attend.  You might want to search around for the classroom (and teacher) that you feel most comfortable with. Click here to see a list of all the schools in B.C. that have a StrongStart classroom

When?- StrongStart typically runs half days, Monday-Friday for most locations.  Each school has a different schedule so you would need to contact the school of your choice to find out if the program runs in the morning or afternoon. The day-to-day schedule is the same as whichever elementary school it is located in, so if there are holidays or there is a professional development day for that particular school, StrongStart will not be in session either.  StrongStart is designed to be a drop-in in order to accomodate all types of family situations.  Whether you feel like going for 30 minutes or 3 hours, you are welcome to come and go as you please, which is a nice option compared to most programs which have days and times that may not necessarily conform to your child’s schedule.

Why? – There are many reasons why I think StrongStart is such an incredible program. Here are just a few of these reasons: 1) Social interaction is an important part of your child’s life.  StrongStart offers your child the opportunity to interact and engage with other children, a teacher, and other adults as well.  2) For parents, being at home alone with a child all day can start to feel a bit isolating, so it is also a great chance for you to get out and meet other parents in your neighbourhood or community.  3) The winters can be long, dark and wet on the North Shore.  It is a great place to go to get out of the house and stimulate your child!  4) The kids LOVE it! Children have so much fun at StrongStart and, let’s face it, a happy kidlet is a happy parent!

I hope that this post will encourage anyone who has not yet taken their child to StrongStart to, well, take your child to StrongStart!

Happy playing and learning!

North Shore Mama

StrongStart Tips:
1) The first time you attend, you will need to bring your child’s birth certificate and some identification of your home address to be kept on file.
2) Although there is a teacher in the classroom, this is meant to be a time for you and your child(ren) to interact through play in various forms. This is not a babysitting service! (But there WILL be a fresh pot of hot coffee awaiting your arrival!)

Jessica Blumel

Nice to meet you! I'm Jessica a.k.a North Shore Mama. This site was born out of my love for my daughters and the desire to share my motherhood journey with fellow moms. I believe we're all in this craziness called 'parenthood' together and North Shore Mama is my way of reaching out to anyone who needs a laugh, a cry or dinner inspiration. Thank you so much for reading!

  • Vinny Grette

    March 28, 2012 #1 Author

    There are lots of good preschool programs out there, for folks who go looking. Glad you like Strong Start!


  • Jenny Morgan

    May 17, 2012 #3 Author

    I’m so glad you posted all this great information. I’m a big believer in the great things StrongStart has to offer and think it’s wonderful that you’re getting some this info out to other parents who have no idea what they’re missing if they don’t come check it out. Thanks for this.


  • elle

    March 29, 2017 #5 Author

    Strong start is no better than a baby/toddler drop in at a community centre. I’ve been to a few different locations and the kids just run a muck with fights and tantrums. The parents are glued to their phones or engaged in gossip, the kids are bored especially if their on the older end. There is zero structure the only form of ” teacher” interaction is a 15 minute ‘circle time’ with a few rhymes and a story. There is almost no point to strong start. My kids have had more teacher/student interacting in a packed baby swim lesson! I’d sign them up for private preschool but I’d worry it would be just as crappy?! Not impressed a waste of Gov money..


    • Jessica Blumel

      April 10, 2017 #6 Author

      Hi Elle. I’m sorry to hear about your experience with Strong Start. My kids loved the program and I wonder if it might be worth checking out a different school, as I know they can be run pretty differently based on the teacher. :) I hope you find a program that works for you and your family.


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