The present rate of child poverty is a concern for educators on Vancouver Island.

Cowichan Valley School Board Chair Candace Spilsbury says the Cowichan region has one of the higher levels of child poverty in the province

The stress and poor nutrition that families in poverty suffer can ultimately reduce learning outcomes in children.

Spilsbury says even with the best resources, poverty can impact a child’s ability to learn.

She says even if the child is motivated and the teacher is extraordinary in their skill set, there are “issues that interplay with education and it’s really tough for these children to be able to succeed at a really high rate. ”

Spilsbury says children from impoverished families are forced to deal with many interrelated and complex issues.

If a family is dealing with housing and food insecurity, these problems cause stress that makes it difficult for a child to sleep, focus on lessons at school, and even be present at school.

To help alleviate the problem, Spilsbury says the school district partners with Nourish Cowichan and the Rotary Club’s Starfish Program to provide nutrition for students in need and their families.