As a community and school, The Arts Connection aims to empower the creative spirit, to inspire a passion for learning, to embolden our students with wider perspectives, and to instill a culture of involved citizenship through empathy.
Steveston’s Arts Connection (SAC) is comprised of two vibrant subsidiaries: Renaissance Kids and The Arts Connection, both of which have been enriching lives for the past 26 years by providing innovative high-quality arts and educational programs to an engaged community of families. The company has grown from humble beginnings, starting as a home-based music studio in 1990, to become the leading child care centre in the City of Richmond and one of the only corporate facilities in Greater Vancouver to provide a hub of arts, educational and family services under one roof.
While we initially started as a music and dance school, it became apparent at the time that families valued the arts for their youngest children. Linda Shirley then opened a division of The Arts Connection called Paddington Station, a play-based preschool that infused a strong arts curriculum into the students’ daily routine. While it may have been easy to rest on the success of Paddington Station, Shirley’s foresight made her realize the importance of integrating education into the early learning division as she began to see a shift in what Richmond families prioritized for their youngest children: a strong academic headstart. As a result, she founded Renaissance Kids on the coat tails of Paddington Station, and saw it through two major expansions to meet the growing demand. Presently, we have centres in both Richmond and Tsawwassen with enrollment of over 180 students. However, Linda’s vision was broader. With a flourishing childcare centre in No. 2 Road and a strong music and dance school on No. 1 road, she began contemplating the value-added strategy of having all these services in one roof as means of creating an interconnected hub of programs and services. She also thought of the family unit and saw an opportunity to start a truly unique after school program that would follow the continuum of growth started in Renaissance Kids for its graduates. In January 2013, Shirley realized both with the opening of its current 18,000 square foot facility and with the success of the SPARK! before and after school program which has become a staple at The Arts Connection and has doubled every year since its inception.
At Steveston’s Arts Connection, we are always looking for ways to innovate and to launch new programs and services that best serve our clients and the community. While we utilize various metrics to analyze the health of our company, our most important metric is one that can’t be measured, and that is our ability to make a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of our clients.
It can said that our business has achieved success and growth on the back of innovation. For twenty-five years we have worked to inspire creativity through teaching the arts and it is with this same creative and forward-thinking mindset that we conduct our business to adapt to the times and to the needs of our clients.
Steveston’s Arts Connection is hard to describe because it does not follow the traditional model for a childcare facility, nor does it employ the familiar archetype of an arts and education centre. Believing that we have more to offer, we shied away from the tried and true to embark on something uniquely our own, with great success.
We currently offer over 60 group classes in music, dance, visual arts, theatre, literature and writing, cooking languages and STEM(science, technology, engineering and math), as well as private instruction in music and dance. We also offer counseling services in our facility with qualified professionals as an additional support service available to our families who may be facing short-term or long-term struggles, challenges or setbacks.
Steveston’s Arts Connection’s core values are education, empowerment, creativity, community, and family. We exemplify these values through our academic, fine arts and extracurricular programs, our personal interactions with the children, our families and our staff, and by our dedication to providing opportunities for all students to discover a creative outlet within a solid school community. We emphasize:
- Learning and personal growth
- Taking healthy risks and challenges creatively and intellectually
- The importance and integrity of family, community and teamwork
- Mutual respect and inclusiveness
- The joy of living and learning
- Making the world a better place
EDUCATION: Student learning is nourished and encouraged through open-ended projects, discovery opportunities, and inquiry-style instruction that makes the most of each child’s innate curiosity.
EMPOWERMENT: Students make important decisions about the direction of their own learning and discovery. At Renaissance Kids, we listen to our students. Instead of prescribing paths, we believe in presenting options and opportunities that cultivate leadership and choice and help children grow in confidence.
CREATIVITY: Children have multiple “languages”, or ways they can express themselves. We offer opportunities for exploration in science, social skills, art, music, dance, language, and theatre.
COMMUNITY: We each exist as unique and powerful learners, but we also work together to transform our community and ourselves. We instill a sense of personal responsibility in our children and do our best to introduce them to the wider world.
FAMILY: Each child is part of a larger family unit, and Renaissance Kids seeks to nurture the relationships between students and their parents through collaborative communication and involvement.