The Nova Scotia government is expanding the Before and After Program, as well as bus service, to make the province’s pre-primary program more accessible.

Nova Scotia Education Minister Zach Churchill says the province will expand the Before and After program to 40 sites this fall, with continued expansion in 2020, where needed.

The physical activity-based program is open to all children from pre-primary to Grade 6. The government says it will be delivered by approved and regulated child-care or recreation-providers.

Bus service will also be available for eligible pre-primary children at 56 sites this fall.

“We want to make sure that every four-year-old that is eligible has the opportunity to participate in our pre-primary program and early learning,” said Churchill. “And we think that these two program enhancements that we’re beginning to expand will do that.”

The province says sites receiving busing this September are in areas where all eligible pre-primary children in a class could be accommodated on existing buses and, in some cases, where participation was low.

The remaining pre-primary sites will receive busing in 2020, when pre-primary is available to all children across the province.

Pre-primary is currently available in 201 school communities in Nova Scotia.