Number of ‘vulnerable’ children entering Abbotsford schools on the rise

Teachers seeing an increase in kindergartners lacking 'emotional and social competencies'

More than one-third of children enter school in Abbotsford with some sort of vulnerability, according to a report presented to school board trustees last week.

At 35 per cent, that rate puts Abbotsford near the British Columbia average, which has risen by seven percentage points since 2009.

Kindergarten teachers assess incoming children over several months to determine whether they have the physical, emotional and communication skills to participate in class.

Cindy Romanowski, the district principal for early learning, said Abbotsford’s increase in vulnerable students seems to be mainly associated with children entering school lacking core “emotional and social competencies.”

Even before the data came back, Romanowski said “teachers were already telling us they were getting children who weren’t able to self-regulate themselves.”

To help such kids, teachers have been using “calm kits” – developed with assistance by the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre – to teach young students skills and tricks to calm themselves down and maintain their composure.

While the root of the issues can’t be known for sure, Romanowski said more parents seem to be experiencing employment issues and other financial problems and stresses.

Romanowski said the district has been proactive to help its most vulnerable children. She pointed to the subsidizing of 10 per cent of the 600 children who attend on-site preschools through the school district, as well as the creation of a new Early Years Centre at Sweeney Neighbourhood Learning Centre. That facility, the first in Abbotsford, aims to provide parents of young children with assistance and support in a range of services.

“We really hope we’ll start to see those changes in vulnerabilities as we provide more and more support to our families.”

Just Posted

Can protected bike lanes get more kids cycling to school in Abbotsford?

Planners hope safer bike facilities can encourage pint-sized commuters to hit the road on two wheels

Man pepper-sprayed and arrested near railroad tracks in Abbotsford

Police and fire crews called to incident at Marshall and Riverside

MEI three-peats as Spartan Cup champions

Senior boys finish first, junior boys place second at Langley event

UPDATE: Highway now open after several hour closure at Herrling Island

Westbound traffic is stopped, and some cars have been seen driving the wrong way on the highway

Rainbow crosswalk plan gets council support in Hope

Council writing letter of support to community group for crosswalk project

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

‘We still did not get answers’: Vancouver parents demand expulsion after students’ racist video

‘We were unable to get confirmation from the VSB, but he hasn’t returned as of yet,’ says Marie Tate

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

‘What goes up will come down’: Gas prices spike in Metro Vancouver

Petroleum analyst Dan McTeague says prices will fall Thursday

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read