SYDNEY, NS — As part of Nova Scotia’s new affordable child care agreement, before and after school programs are being expanded across the province with the addition of 7,500 new spaces by 2026.
This enhanced “wrap-around” program, for three to five-year-olds, will also be offered through the summer and during professional development days.
It is affordable – part of the $10 a day offering that is the centrepiece of the new $645 million plan that was signed last week between the province and federal government.
“I’m proud to be part of this transformational moment for child care in Nova Scotia,” said the Liberal leader Iain Rankin. “We are prioritizing the right things for children and families.”
The Liberal leader visited the Sydney Child Centre today with Derek Mombourquette, the Liberal candidate for Sydney-Whitney Pier.
Mr. Mombourquette, as the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, negotiated the child care agreement with his federal counterpart. It was signed last week in Halifax.
Child care fees will be reduced by 50 per cent for those already using the child care system by next year, and by 2026, the average cost of child care will be $10 a day.
The new agreement solidifies Nova Scotia’s reputation as a leader in early childhood education.
Currently, there are only 500 “wrap-around” program spaces. But parents had been asking for more, especially with the beginning of pre-primary in this province.
These new options will create a more enriching experience for children and make coordinating care more seamless for Nova Scotia families.
By March 2023, there will be a total of 4,000 spaces. Between 2023 and 2026, another 4,000 new spaces, for a total of 7,500 new spaces.
In addition to the wrap-around program, the agreement includes a strategic new workforce development strategy that will ensure early childhood educators (ECEs) have what they need to provide a loving, inclusive, and high-quality learning environment for every child.
Investments in workforce development will:
- Keep children and families connected to trusted practitioners by introducing better pay and benefits for ECEs by 2022.
- Immediately recognize the contribution of ECEs by providing a one-time grant of $500 for trained ECEs working in provincially funded child care centres.
- Grow the ECE workforce by providing free tuition and books for 300 students currently enrolled in full-time ECE programs in Nova Scotia and promote ECE as a career option in schools.
- Support ECEs to develop their skills by providing free tuition and books for over 300 staff currently working in child care and pre-primary without a diploma and establishing a post-diploma certificate training program to allow ECEs to advance their skills and specialize.
- Increase diversity in early childhood education by designating seats for and distributing bursaries to Mi’kmaq, Indigenous peoples, Black and African Nova Scotians, Acadian and Francophone Nova Scotians, and newcomers who are studying in ECE programs or already working as ECEs without a degree or diploma.
- Recognize and validate the skills of ECEs by introducing a certification process.
- Strengthen the early childhood education workforce by investing in ECE training, wages, and career development.