Thank you for your article on the proposed Vernon Community School by the Vernon School District and spearheaded by teachers Kim Ondrik and Murray Sasges.
I have had the privilege of participating in some of the early discussions and planning for this initiative.
Kim Ondrik and Murray Sasges have also participated in a number of the early years initiatives of the North Okanagan Early Years Council and the Early Childhood Educators of B.C.
Although they are middle and high school educators, they have a very clear understanding of the importance of healthy brain development and nurturing, stimulating and responsive learning environments in the early years from birth to age 6.
They understand that a strong foundation in the early years is essential to later school success.
While we as a society tend to divide ourselves and our children into homogenous groups such as infant, toddler, preschooler, primary or middle schooler, youth, adults and seniors as well as many other categories, we know that we are all humans and have similar requirements for learning across the lifespan.
We understand that in the early years children learn best in the context of human relationships and we believe that does not change with age.
The vision that Kim and Murray have set out is very similar to the vision we have for all children. Provide projects or initiatives that are responsive to children’s interests within a context of human connectivity and social justice.
There are many young children involved in high quality early years programs in our community for whom this community school would be a natural progression from the context in which they are currently learning and growing.
I encourage parents to explore this new educational model in our community and look forward to seeing it offered to kindergarten and primary children as the program grows.
The Vernon School District is a partner in the North Okanagan Early Years Council and we commend them for supporting educational innovation from the early years through to high school graduation and beyond.
Lynne Reside, Co-ordinator,
Early Years Council