Though Lake Cowichan may be falling behind in early childhood education (see page two), there are still some resources that continue to serve the community, like the Books ‘n’ Bubbles literacy bus.
The literacy bus, a 41 foot Bluebird School Bus, travels around the Cowichan Valley all week, serving communities lacking in early education opportunities, and making a stop in Lake Cowichan’s Saywell Park twice a week, on Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Friday from 9 to 12 p.m.
The Books ‘n’ Bubbles Bus is essentially a mobile preschool. Aboard the bus, kids ages zero to five, accompanied by their parents, sing songs, makes arts and crafts, have stories read to them and play with one another.
“We use a very personal way of teaching, we see what children enjoy doing and then help them branch out from there,” Early Childhood Education facilitator Jenny Court said. “If a child is really into trains, we’ll teach them things while they’re playing with trains. We’ll talk about how many trains are on the track, what colour they are or what that type of train is called.”
The bus itself is loaded with supplies, including a kitchen area, tables and chairs and an open area in the back for “circle time.”
Operated by Cowichan Family Life, the Books ‘n’ Bubbles Bus is completely free for parents or caregivers to drop-in. Aside from the proven benefits that pre-school and other early childhood education programs have on a child’s academic performance throughout life, Court said that the bus is also great for parents.
“While their children are learning how to socialize, the parents get an opportunity to network with one another as well,” she said.
You can find the literacy bus at Saywell Park, outside of the Kaatza Station Museum. The program is completely free, though a parent or caretaker is required to accompany their child.