About Our Organization
Our mission at Strong Start is to provide programs and services through community-wide partnerships that help young children learn to read. Our vision is: All children read – A very short statement, but a very tall order. Experiences in the family and in early learning environments have a critical influence on a child's long-term development. Strong Start programs provide an early intervention, reaching children early, before they fall behind, get discouraged, and disengage from school.
To date, over 30,000 children have been supported by our early literacy programs. Join our family today.
Letters, Sounds and WordsTM
Our Letters, Sounds and Words program is delivered in partnership with school boards and schools in multiple communities in Ontario. This 10-week program targets children in Senior Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2 who are lagging behind in their early reading skills. Children are matched with trained community volunteers who go into the school to work one-on-one with them, playing carefully designed games and activities. The program is designed in 4 strands to help children learn the names of letters, a sound each letter represents, how to recognize words by sight and how to build a word using the sounds of its letters. Classroom teachers select which children would most benefit from this program, as well as the strands in which they should be enrolled.
Get Ready for SchoolTM
Our Get Ready for School program is delivered in partnership with local community centres across Waterloo Region. The program, which consists of 44 two-hour classes, is delivered by trained instructors and volunteers who work with children ages 3-4 from January or February to June, just prior to their start in Junior Kindergarten. This highly effective research-based program was created by Dr. Iuliana Baciu and is particularly beneficial for children who have the challenges of English as a second language or for children from low to middle income families. The program focuses on helping children develop essential early literacy skills. The emphasis on increasing vocabulary, letter-sound knowledge and classroom learning behaviours are all essential building blocks for children as they prepare to enter their formal school experience.
We also support community collaborative efforts to develop other programs and services that focus on early literacy development. In particular, Strong Start helps lead Baby Connections which is a program delivered through a network of over 25 agencies and organizations in Waterloo Region. Baby Connections is a free community program that helps families develop literacy and language skills with their babies. This fun, interactive program shares strategies and provides quality resources that support their baby’s brain development, building a strong foundation for success in school and beyond.
Please help us help more children learn to read.
Please note, at present Canada Helps does not accept international payments.
What People Are Saying
"The program just became another part of what she did at school, but it contributed so much to what she was able to do from that point on. I saw a change in her and now when I see her with all her books curled up and reading….I think that was a little girl who couldn’t read going into grade 1."
— Susan Cook-Scheerer, Parent, Letters, Sounds and Words program, Read More
"There’s no better way to say this other than you have given my son a Strong Start to life. Thank you."
— Fadhwa Yusuf, Parent, “Get Ready for School” program, Read More