May is Early Childhood Education Month
May has been proclaimed Early Childhood Education Month. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the important role early childhood education plays in the growth and development of children, and to recognize the thousands of early childhood educators who contribute to their physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual development.
Early childhood educators play an important role both in child care environments and in our schools. Research has shown that encouraging young children to learn, play, express their feelings and develop positive relationships gives them ability to go on to reach their full potential in life.
Optimizing the early years of children’s lives is one of the best investments we can make as a society in ensuring their future success. Early in our government’s mandate, we recognized the need for more child care spaces and increased early learning supports.
Through the Saskatchewan Early Years Plan, parents can expect:
- Prenatal and early childhood support for mothers and children;
- Better access to high quality early learning and child care options;
- Support for families in their role as parents and caregivers; and
- Programs that make sure children and families receiving support don’t slip through the cracks.
The Ministry of Education has been working with early years groups, including child care centres and community programs, to achieve the goals set out in the plan.
The 2018-19 Saskatchewan budget invests over $100 million in the Early Years.
Access to quality child care has improved over the past decade. There was an extreme shortage of spaces in 2007, which needed to be addressed, especially as our population began to grow. Since then Saskatchewan has seen a 73 per cent increase in new child care spaces.
Here in Moose Jaw, there are now 53 per cent more licensed child care spaces than there were a decade ago.
A three-year bilateral agreement between the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan announced in March will help ensure that Saskatchewan children get the best start in life. The funding will support the creation of:
- 1,015 new Licensed Child Care Spaces and 1,500 New Licensed Family Child Care Home Spaces;
- Early Learning Intensive Support Pilots;
- Creation of New Francophone Child Care Spaces; and
- Training Equipment Grants and Literacy Programming
Nearly 600 of the announced new licensed child care centre spaces have already been allocated. More licensed family child care home spaces will increase opportunities for parents to choose the child care best-suited to their needs while creating employment opportunities for those interested in caring for children within their homes.
The Early Learning Intensive Support Pilot has started and is expected to provide up to 112 spaces in Public and Catholic schools in Regina and Saskatoon this fall. The pilot provides funding to hire additional educational assistants to create inclusive classrooms that support the meaningful participation of all students.
Thank you to all Early Childhood Educators who work to ensure a bright future for the children of Saskatchewan.