1300 volunteers used Strong Start® last year to help over 1700 children! An assessment is done with each child in Strong Start® before and after the 10-week program to document growth in skills. The assessment results for both sessions in the last school year are now available on the “Our Success” web page. Results have been very consistent over the history of the program and we are delighted that children are doing so well. We are also delighted with the feedback we receive from many teachers and volunteers.

This was the first year for the new program strand called Building Words. Results for this strand were also impressive. We are hopeful that this strand will develop the same great history as the other three strands! Here’s a sample of the comments we are receiving about this new addition to the program.

“I am so impressed with the Strong Start® program,” writes Susan, a teacher at Saginaw P.S. in Cambridge. She continues: “I am a grade one teacher from Cambridge and although I am familiar with the program, having been a volunteer myself several years ago, this was my first opportunity to have students in the new Building Words strand of the program. My students loved working with the wonderful volunteers, playing all of the well-designed, educational games. And over the ten weeks, I have noticed a great improvement, not only in my students’ ability to use phonemic awareness to approximate spelling and to improve their reading, but I have witnessed a tremendous boost in their enthusiasm and confidence in their own abilities to take risks when decoding and writing.

My students have benefited from the hard work and dedication of the many professionals who have researched, designed and implemented Strong Start® in Waterloo Region, and I am thankful for their tireless efforts. It is through the compassion of these professionals and through the continuous support of our sponsor that each child in the program has had a spark ignited. This is a powerful impact, one which will hopefully turn that spark into a deep love for learning and the knowledge for the children involved that they can do it!”