Questions surround launch of Nova Scotia’s pre-primary program
With the launch of Nova Scotia’s pre-primary program just three weeks away, there are still many questions about how it’s going to work and whether it will be ready for the end of September.
Fifty locations capable of holding up 1,200 students could be ready to go by the end of September, but with one major hurdle.
“This is contingent on staffing,” Education Minister Zach Churchill says. “Every one of these classrooms will be staffed by a professionally trained early childhood educator, so that's something we need to make sure we do before these sites are officially opened.”
That means the government could be looking for up to 90 early childhood educators. Administrators in the private sector say they have issues with staffing, and are curious how the province’s hiring has gone.
“It's been very silent,” says Pam Streeter, co-chair of the Private Licesnses Association. “It's been deafening in its silence in terms of the information that we're receiving, or not receiving.”
Streeter says all she's heard is that the province is planning to consult with the private sector in the fall.
“We need to work with our private providers to make sure that we do this,” Churchill says. “They know as well as we do how important this early years programming is for the success of our kids.”
“We need to talk about potential problems for sectors prior to the rollout, not after,” says Streeter.
The Department of Education says they have received 760 online registrations so far. When it comes to staffing, the department says individual school boards are responsible for hiring.
The province's initial goal was to have all 50 sites operational by the end of September. With just a few weeks to go, it's not clear whether they'll be able to achieve that.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.