Early Years Centres Open in Three Communities

Education and Early Childhood Development

April 7, 2014 10:12 AM

Early Years Centres in three communities are now providing families with more access to services and supports for young children.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey and Margaret McCain, chair of the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation, officially opened the province's first early years centres today, April 7, at Rockingstone Heights School, the site for the Halifax Regional School Board's centre.

"Giving children the best start in life is paramount as we respond to the changing needs of today's families, especially during the early years," said Ms. Casey.

"We recognize how important it is to offer programs and services that will help children succeed, and provide support to families at centres in their own communities. And with the generous support and commitment of the McCain Family Foundation, we are able to make this a reality."

The early years centres are located in or near schools, which make them accessible, convenient and familiar places for families in their communities. Each centre is tailored to meet the needs of its community by partnering with local organizations to offer programs and services such as early learning programs for four-year-olds, early intervention, before- and after-school programs, regulated child care, and parent education.

"We are pleased to partner with province as it creates the first tier of life-long learning," said Mrs. McCain. "So much of each child's potential is developed in early childhood. It just makes sense to open public schools to children during their earliest years when the most fundamental lessons are being learned. These first early years centres are models for the delivery of quality early childhood programs across the province."

The Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation is providing $500,000 over five years to help establish the centres.

Events were also held at two other centres. Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan officially opened a centre at Jubilee Elementary School in Sydney Mines, with Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, and Environment Minister Randy Delorey opened one at East Antigonish Education Centre in Monastery for Strait Regional School Board.

"The hands-on, play-focused opportunities and positive interactions with my daughter's peers have allowed her confidence to flourish," said Jyl Boyle, a parent whose child goes to the Early Years Centre in Monastery.

"I believe she will be very well prepared for the upcoming school year, both socially and academically. The early years program has done wonders for my daughter."

The centre at Yarmouth Central, for Tri-County Regional School Board, will open in September.


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     Early Years Centres in three communities are providing

families with more access to services and supports for young

children.

     The first centres were officially opened today (April 7th)

at Rockingstone Heights in Halifax, Jubilee Elementary in Sydney

Mines and East Antigonish Education Centre in Monastery.

     Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen

Casey was joined by Margaret McCain, chair of the Margaret and

Wallace McCain Family Foundation, at the Halifax opening.

     Ms. Casey says giving children the best start in life is

paramount as we respond to the changing needs of today's

families, especially during the early years.

     Ms. McCain says her foundation, which has made a 5-year

funding commitment to the centres, is pleased to partner with

province as it creates the first tier of life-long learning.

     The centre at Yarmouth Central, for Tri-County Regional

School Board, will open in September.

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Media Contact: Michelle Lucas
              902-222-1784
              E-mail: lucasml@gov.ns.ca