Children aged 3 and 4, headed for Junior Kindergarten, will enjoy learning letter sounds, new words, and practising school readiness behaviours by participating in the Get Ready for School™ program. Developed through the research of Dr. Iuliana Baciu, a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, this program has proven successful in helping prepare young learners for school.  For more information on Dr. Iuliana Baciu, visit the History page.

The program is offered at community centre locations across Waterloo Region, starting in January or February and finishing in June. Children attend a 2-hour class, two or three times each week depending on the location, for a total of 44 classes. The program is offered free of charge to children and families that register. The program is targeted to support children who are learning English as a Second Language or come from low to middle income families. During registration, preference will be given to children from the local neighbourhood and children who fit our target demographic.

By participating in the program, children will:

  • develop a larger vocabulary
  • learn the sounds that letters make
  • participate in activities that lead to an awareness of how speech is formed
  • grow his/her confidence as a learner
  • participate in group activities using appropriate social language and learning practices
  • work in small groups of 4 or 5 children, with a trained instructor and volunteer

How it works

  • To register for the 2017 program you must register in person at the site closest to you on Tuesday, November 1st.  Please call the site before this date to determine the time of their registration. For a list of sites and contact information, visit the Sites and Program Schedule page. *Note* There are NO classes held on Professional Development (PD) days, Statutory Holidays or March Break.
  • In January or February, depending on the program schedule of the site, each parent with their child, will attend one 30 minute Welcome Visit the week before classes begin. Children will complete a short assessment at this time with a trained assessor.
  • Following the Welcome Visit, the child will attend the full program, 44 classes.
  • The parent will attend four parent information meetings throughout the program to help them support their child’s learning at home.
  • Take-home materials are provided for the parent and child to practise with at home.
  • In June, each parent with their child will attend a 30 minute Final visit. Children will complete a short assessment at this time with a trained assessor to determine changes in skills. Individual assessments are not shared, but entire program scores are compiled into an Executive Summary Report. Visit the Program Results page to see last year’s results.

For more information on this program, please contact Program Co-ordinator’s Kirsten Carr, and Iwona Dmitrienko by e-mailing  grfs@strongstart.ca. Please see Our People page for individual team member contact information.