HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia government has launched long-promised consultations into its expanded pre-primary program for four-year-olds.

The Education Department says the government will seek feedback until Nov. 21 from families with children who are 12 years of age and younger, and from private non-profit sector operators.

Families will be asked about their specific needs in an online survey, while operators will be asked how they've been affected by the changes.

The survey is part of a $75,000 consultation contract signed with Thinkwell Research Inc., in August.

More than 818 children enrolled in a total of 52 new play-based pre-primary classes which began earlier this fall at 45 locations across the province.

Education Minister Zach Churchill has said the program could be further expanded by another 70 classes next September.

The program is to be introduced across the province over the next four years at a cost of $49.9 million a year.

First announced in April, the speed of the government's rollout following the May 30 election had been criticized by political foes and by the early child care sector, which expressed doubts that enough qualified staff would be found.