The highly successful early learning SPARK program that School District No. 46 (SD46) has run for many years is now being expanded to teach Grade 10 students how to meet the needs of children from birth to age five.
SPARK 10 is a new course envisioned by high school principals and put into action by early learning coordinator Kirsten Deasey, who explained the idea to trustees at their Jan. 14 board meeting.
“We are going to be teaching them about strategies to work with younger children. So they’ve already learned how to have a job interview and how to create resumes and now we want to extend those people skills and those communication skills to working with younger children as well,” Deasey said, noting the SPARK 10 program fits into the Planning 10 curriculum.
“Understanding the lifelong implications of early childhood, we know that what happens in the early years affects one’s entire lifespan, but not everybody knows that so we’re working with them on brain development, on different kinds of learners, multiple intelligences, how children learn through play, through active learning and literacy through the ages.”
Once Grade 10 students complete the course they will have the chance to put their new skills into action at one of the District’s StrongStart centres, Deasey said.
Trustees praised the new program, its inclusion of different age groups and the kind of practical life skills students would gain through SPARK 10.