Forty-three locations across the province have been selected to offer pre-primary programming to four-year-olds this fall.
“For the first time, Nova Scotia families will have access to a free pre-primary program for four-year-olds,” said Zach Churchill, Minister, Education and Early Childhood Development. “This investment will support the futures of our youngest Nova Scotians and save their families thousands of dollars in child care costs.”
The first year of the program will see 50 classrooms in 43 locations across Nova Scotia. Sites were selected based on greatest need, which included if there are few to no current regulated child care options, and if space is available within schools.
The province will continue to add pre-primary classes across the province over the next four years.
Christine McLean, assistant professor with Child and Youth Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University said the research is clear when it comes to the benefits of play-based learning.
“Young children benefit from developmentally appropriate, play-based early learning programs, and this is especially true for the year prior to school entry,” said Ms. McLean. “Through play-based learning, facilitated by qualified early childhood educators, young children have the opportunity to develop skills in early literacy, numeracy, socialization and self-regulation, all of which will support their later academic success.”
The Pre-Primary Program will support the early learning and development of young children, preparing them for success as they start school and throughout life.
“We strongly believe in a partnership of home, school and community in the development of children,” said Gary Adams, superintendent and CEO, Chignecto-Central Regional School Board. “This is vital to ensuring our students receive the supports and programs they need to excel in learning from a young age. The Pre-Primary Program supports this goal and will complement the strong efforts of our staff. Students in our board and across the province should benefit greatly from this program and we look forward to welcoming our pre-primary children to the school community in September.”
“The early learning program at Jubilee Elementary helped my children grow socially,” said parent Jessica Wolstenholme. “It helped them meet other children they will be going to school with and build friendships. It’s wonderful for children to be introduced to the school setting in a play-based way that is not as structured as school.”
She says she plans to enroll her youngest child in the Pre-Primary program when she turns four-years-old. Mrs. Wolstenholme also says that the free aspect of the program means that families who may not be able to afford day care will be able to access this experience for their children.
Information about eligibility, where pre-primary will be available, and how to pre-register online, visit www.ednet.ns.ca/pre-primary. Parents may also pre-register their child by phone, by calling toll-free 1-833-424-2084.
Source: Media Release