Innovative Community Partnerships Linking Education, Business and Preschoolers

Building Learning Together (BLT) Coalition of Community Partners supports early learning for children 0-6 and their families.  Currently over ten BLT projects reach into every corner of the community, affecting people from birth to beyond retirement.  At the core of BLT are the beliefs that:  Parents play a crucial role in preparing their child for a lifetime of learning; there is much parents can do to ensure their children get a good start in school, and in life; and that it is in the community’s best interests to ensure parents have access to resources – because when our children succeed, our community thrives.

BLT began in 1999 when two community organizations began investigating ways of supporting family literacy.  School District 69 (Qualicum) invested in a part-time early literacy position, believing that by building connections between school and family in the pre-school years, more students would enter the system with the language skills needed for success at school.  At the same time, Project Literacy P/Q was working on a family literacy initiative, so the two began to work together.  In November 1999, Project Literacy P/Q hosted a meeting with representatives from many agencies in Oceanside.  The participants identified current gaps in service and discussed possible ways to fill these gaps.  The BLT Steering Committee was formed to connect community resources to families in ways that enhance early learning for children.

Before long the BLT Steering Committee grew to represent and work with over 180 businesses, service clubs and schools, over 20 agencies and ministries, and well over 200 individuals. Currently the BLT Steering Committee (now called the BLT Coalition) is comprised mostly of community agencies and services, including non-profits, interested volunteers and school district representatives.

The BLT Coalition meets monthly to share information, pool knowledge, resources and ideas, and work together on ‘filling the gaps’ of need in the community for families.

Storybook Village, opened in the fall of 2010, could not have been possible without the commitment of the community believing in the value of the project, and finding ways to meet physical, financial, and philosophical needs.  And there is more to come…..

Come share the journey and watch the story unfold!

Our Current Coalition Members:

Arrowsmith Community Recreation Association
Career Centre
Family Resource Association
Island Health
Ministry of Children and Family Development
Nanoose First Nation
Qualicum First Nation
Regional District of Nanaimo Recreation
School District 69
Society of Organized Services