Many newcomers find the education system in BC hard to navigate and difficult to understand. The NewToBC team has compiled a list of frequently asked questions by newcomers arriving to BC with answers to help you navigate your way to settling in your new country and to offer homework help and resources for newcomer youth. Here are some resources to help your child be successful in their new school environment.
Settlement Workers in Schools Programs
The Settlement Workers In Schools program (SWIS) is a school-based outreach program that assists students in Kindergarten to Grade 12. This program helps newcomer students and their families transition into the Canadian school system and a new community. SWIS can assist families with:
- School registration and orientation
- Understanding school policies and procedures
- Communicating with teachers and administrators
- Supporting newcomer students as they transition into the Canadian school system
- Supporting newcomer families as they transition into a new community
- Connecting newcomer students and families with community resources and services
- Workshops, information sessions, and support groups. (E.g. parenting in Canada, parenting circle, lunchbox nutrition, children and youth mentoring sessions)
The SWIS program is available in many school districts in B.C. but not all. Contact your local school district to find out if they offer this program.
Libraries Offer Free Learning Supports
- The Surrey Libraries offer an Envision Financial Reading Buddies program. Envision Financial Reading Buddies is a time to practice reading together. Children are paired with a teen volunteer and will spend time reading together in a safe, supportive environment. Sessions are 60 minutes long and meet once per week for 6 weeks in the Spring and Fall. The program is designed to support children who are new readers and helps to build their confidence and improve their skills.
- The Vancouver Island Regional Library offers information and resources to help youth find books, articles, and websites to help with assignments. Information available is listed by subject area so youth can tailor their learning.
- North Vancouver City Library librarians can help you find resources, sign up for homework help program, and get one-on-one assistance from a volunteer tutor. Contact them if you’ve got questions.
Many Organizations Provide Help for Newcomer Youth
- The Friends of Simon program trains university students as literacy tutors in the Lower Mainland. These tutors work with newcomer K-12 students after school and Saturdays in small group and individualized settings. These student tutors are supervised by members of the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University.
- Tutoring, Homework and English Support Program: United Way School’s Out Surrey Libraries. This program is for students in grades 4 to 7 who are newcomers to Canada or whose parents are newcomers to Canada.
- The Simon Fraser University’s TD Community Engagement Centre offers a variety of programs focusing on education, mentorship, connection and skill development, primarily reaching children, youth and newcomers to Canada.
There are many other supports and services in place to help newcomers ease into the school year and to offer homework help and resources for newcomer youth. If you require more information, visit any of the websites linked above as they will connect you to further information. You can also reach out to your local settlement agency for any other questions you may have about education support in BC.