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Child, Youth and Family Services
May 8, 2012

Partnership to Explore Integration of Early Childhood Learning Programs

The Provincial Government has entered into a partnership with the Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation and the Jimmy Pratt Foundation to study innovative ways in which to integrate early childhood learning programs in Newfoundland and Labrador with a view to enabling the smoothest possible transition to school.

“This partnership will begin with a six-month research study, conducted through Memorial University, which will include an examination of different early childhood learning programs in the province, and the identification of specific best practices which lead to a seamless transition to Kindergarten,” said the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Education, who addressed an early childhood learning symposium this morning (Tuesday, May 8) in St. John’s. “It is just one example of how the Provincial Government is exploring new ways to enhance early childhood learning programs so that our children have the best possible opportunity for success when they begin their formal schooling.”

Minister Jackman noted that, pending the outcome of the study, the foundations have allocated up to $300,000 over a three-year period for a pilot project to be delivered in select school settings.

“The Department of Child, Youth and Family Services is pleased to work collaboratively with the Department of Education and the McCain and Pratt Foundations to further develop and strengthen early learning for our children through child care services and family resource centres,” said the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services, who also addressed the symposium. “In Budget 2012, quality child care remains a key priority for our government, and through the implementation of the 10-Year Child Care Strategy there is a continued focus on improving the sufficiency, affordability and quality of child care services for families with young children.”

Beginning in 2012-13, the Provincial Government will increase funding to child care, doubling its investment by 2021-22 to approximately $56 million per year under the 10-Year Child Care Strategy.

Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future also includes almost $1.7 million for the second year of implementation of the province’s early childhood learning strategy, Learning from the Start, which is designed to enhance early learning opportunities for young children and their families. It is part of a three-year $4.8 million investment, announced last year, with an initial focus on the years from birth to age three.

The Margaret & Wallace McCain Foundation (MWM) and the Jimmy Pratt Foundation welcomed the opportunity to partner with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to undertake this research. MWM Foundation's focus is specifically in the area of early learning and care, while the Pratt Foundation's focus in on nurturing resilience in children, youth and their families.

"We are pleased to invest in a study that will explore how to provide early childhood educational opportunities to more children of our province,” said Kathy Pratt Legrow, Chair of the Jimmy Pratt Foundation. “Investment in our children is an investment in our future."

For more information on early childhood learning programs and services in Newfoundland and Labrador, visit: www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/earlychildhood/guide.html

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Media contact:

Heather May
Director of Communications
Department of Education
709-729-0048, 697-5061
Michelle Hunt
Director of Communications
Department of Child, Youth and Family Services
709-729-5148, 725-1593
Kathy Pratt Legrow
Jimmy Pratt Foundation

2012 05 08             9:45 a.m.

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