The Trail and District Public Library has long been a fundamental building block and ongoing educational haven for children in the community.
Beginning today, the date that should have been the first day of public school, the Silver City cornerstone of learning is partnering with the city’s pre-teen centre to offer a free morning program for children ages 5-12.
From 9 a.m. until noon, staff and volunteers at the Trail site will be relocating to a larger space in the Sanctuary building on Bay Avenue for no cost programs that include story time, crafts, games, guest speakers and a healthy mid-morning snack.
The library board first began to toss around the idea of expanding fall youth programs after the teachers full scale strike began almost three months ago.
“We understand there can be great hardship for some parents over the summer,” said Barbara Gibson, chair of the library board and Sanctuary. “The relief seems to come when the kids go back to school and they don’t have to worry. This year, they still have to worry.”
The morning program will run during the teachers’ strike and continue as needed, explained Donna Tremblay, a children’s programmer at the library.
“It wasn’t looking too good for the teachers, so we put this together on the fly,” she said. “But we’re going to do our best to hand out and have some fun.”
This week’s activities include “getting to know you” bubble painting, story sharing, a visit from firefighters and Cpl Sheldon Arychuk and his service dog.
Parents must first register their children for the free morning program at the library. For information, call 364.1731.
In light of the school closures, Sanctuary has altered its hours and is offering pre-teen services from noon until 6 p.m. for children ages 8-12.
The free program has a limit of 30, and due to licensing requirements, is only offered for youngsters in that specific age group.
“We are especially there for parents who can’t be home when their kids get out of school,” Gibson noted. “Which is even more important now. We are open to kids who would normally be at Sanctuary and for those who attend the morning program as long as they are within the age group.”
For more information, visit the centre’s website at sanctuarytrail.org.
Another opportunity that offers, “something for everybody,” is the City of Trail’s extended programs for children ages 6-12 called Camp Cawabunga.
Today until Friday is the first week of daytime camp for children that runs at Trail’s Gyro Park from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The program is offered through the city’s Parks and Recreation department, for $35/day per child and has fun games, crafts and adventures in the works.
For information or to register, contact 368.6484 or the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre at 364.0888.
The government confirmed that for each school day lost during the strike, parents of public school students 12-years old and under can register for a $40 per child per day subsidy.
But that money won’t be helpful during the strike because the Temporary Education Support for Parents (TESP) cheques won’t be issued until after the labour dispute ends.
According to bcparentinfo.ca, parents and primary caregivers are eligible to register for TESP, but stipulates that cheques will only be processed within 30 days after the month that the labour disruption ends and in a single payment.
While school doors will be physically open starting today (Tuesday), there will be no instruction for students, confirmed Greg Luterbach, the local school district superintendent in a Friday newsletter.
Support staff will likely not cross the teachers’ picket lines, which leaves only non-union staff present at the district’s schools and sites.
“As a result of the inability to ensure the safety and security of our students, I ask that parents keep all children home starting Sept. 2 until further notice,” wrote Luterbach.