Early Childhood Services

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Early Childhood Services in Westwind refers to programs that meet the developmental learning needs of children ages 3 years 8 months to 6 years.

During a child’s first six years of life, they develop the physical, emotional and social abilities that will set the stage for the rest of their lives. The quality of a child’s earliest environment and exposure to positive experiences at the right stages of development has a strong influence on the course of their life path.  

Westwind School Division has adopted a broad definition of quality and developmentally appropriate programming for early learners that aligns current research with best practice in early childhood education. Our Early Learning Programs support children in developmental areas that include:  social/emotional skills, intellectual/cognitive skills, physical/motor skills and speech and language skills.

Programming for some children with severe delays can begin as early as 2 years 8 months.  Specialized programming offers integrated supports that may include speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, behavioural consultants, psychologists, vision consultants and hearing consultants, depending on the child's identified delays. An Individual Program Plan (IPP) will be developed by a team that includes parents, classroom staff and support professionals.

Early Childhood Services in Westwind consists of three categories:

Special Programming

  • PUF (Program Unit Funding) is funding that comes from Alberta Education to provide programming for children with severe disabilities who require additional support beyond that offered in a regular ECS program.
  • Children must be assessed and present with a severe delay in one of the following areas: speech/language, behavior or have a diagnosed medical condition.
  • Children may access PUF for two years prior to entering kindergarten.
  • Westwind provides a younger program for PUF children (2.8-3.7 years). PUF children (3.8-4.7 years) attend the regular Early Learning Program.
  • There is no cost for a child to attend either program if they qualify for PUF.
  • Once a child has been approved for PUF, registration for the appropriate program is completed online through your local community school.
  • Please contact the Early Learning Supervisor/Coordinator or community preschool teacher to access screening and/or assessment or to see if your child is eligible for Program Unit Funding.

Early Learning Program

  • This program is for children who will be 3.8 – 4.7 years of age on or before September 1st of the upcoming school year.
  • Early Learning programs are not funded by Alberta Education so there is a fee for children to attend. The cost is $50/month or $500 for the year. 
  • Children are required to be fully toilet trained with some exceptions made for children with identified delays or medical needs.
  • Registration for this program is done online through your local community school.
  • NOTE: A child who qualifies for PUF and is 3.8 to 4.7 years of age will be eligible for specialized supports and fees will be covered for this program through PUF.
  • If you have questions about your child qualifying for PUF, please contact the Early Learning Supervisor/Coordinator or your Community Preschool Teacher.

Kindergarten 

Kindergarten is one of the most exciting times in a child’s life and programs are available to all children. Ensuring each child makes a successful transition from home to school is a goal for parents and teachers.  The purpose of Kindergarten is to provide learning experiences that are developmentally appropriate in order to meet the diverse needs of children and to promote a positive attitude towards lifelong learning.  

  • Kindergarten is offered in each of our 6 Elementary schools. Most schools offer either a morning or afternoon program Monday through Thursday. 
  • Cardston Elementary, Spring Glen Elementary and Mt. View offer full-day kindergarten for rural students only.
  • Children must be at least 4.8 years of age on September 1st of the current school year to be eligible for kindergarten programming.

Locations

Westwind offers Early Childhood Programs in six locations: Cardston Elementary SchoolMountain View SchoolSpring Glen Elementary SchoolMagrath Elementary SchoolRaymond Elementary School and Stirling School.

For information regarding a specific program please contact the school closest to your home address.

Questions regarding children experiencing developmental delays prior to kindergarten entry should be directed to:

Sandi Letioa, Early Learning Supervisor,  (403) 653-5634 (Cardston, Mountain View, Hillspring, Glenwood, Magrath)

Sue Heggie, Early Learning Coordinator, (403) 752-3004 (Raymond & Stirling)