The province of Prince Edward Island is spending $790,000 to provide free school supplies to all students from kindergarten to Grade 9 during the 2022-23 school year.

The P.E.I. government says the funding will help about 15,900 children in public schools across the province.

“The back-to-school season can be a stressful and expensive time for many families," said Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Minister Natalie Jameson in a news release.

“Providing free school supplies is a positive initiative that gives students equitable access to essential supplies and takes some of the financial burden away from families."

The province says schools were given the option to continue with school/teacher-based purchasing, or to be part of a centralized purchase order through their school authority, as part of the new initiative.

Under the centralized system, teachers completed an order form identifying classroom needs. The supplies will be delivered to schools before classes begin in September.

The province says additional staff members have been hired to help order and distribute the school supplies.

“It is such a relief to parents, who will no longer have the burden of paying for school supplies for K-9 students, and to teachers who will not have to hunt for deals on pencils or scribblers,” said Dionne Tuplin, the president of the PEI Home and School Federation.

“It is also wonderful that there will be consistency and equity in the classrooms, every child will have the same standard of supplies and we know that they will be well equipped for the year ahead.”

Students will still be required to bring their own indoor shoes, backpacks and lunch bags, as well as calculators and headphones, where applicable.