ROSENEATH, P.E.I. - Progress with child care in P.E.I. is moving at a good clip, says the province’s minister of education and early learning.
“A lot has been achieved in a short period of time and we’re grateful to all partners for moving so fast,’’ says Jordan Brown.
“There’s no question that we’re on the right track.’’
Brown made the comments Friday morning at Kidz Korner Early Learning Academy in Rosneath while offering an update on the P.E.I. Action Plan for Children.
He highlighted the creation of several new early learning and child care spaces, including 16 new spaces opening this spring at the new Chateau des Etoiles in Rollo Bay; 20 new infant spaces and 60 preschool spaces approved this month in existing centres; 90 spaces opening soon at newly licensed centres in Charlottetown, Belfast and Long Creek; and nine spaces recently approved at Little Blessings in Stratford.
Brown also announced three early childhood centres have been designated as provincial Early Years Centres: Kidz Korner, Superstars Daycare in Charlottetown, and Milestones Early Childhood Development Centre in Stratford.
Chateau des Etoiles received the designation in late fall.
There are now 49 designated Early Years Centres in P.E.I.
Each receive some provincial funding by meeting a host of requirements such as following a provincial curriculum, accepting infants and children with special needs, having all staff certified, following a provincial wage grid, maintaining parent fees, having a plan for quality improvement, operating year-round and having a parent advisory committee.
Brown says his department is grateful for federal funding of $10.5 million over three years to support P.E.I.’s Action Plan for Children that was launched last summer.
“Like us, they understand that high quality early childhood experiences have a very positive impact on a child’s development,’’ he says.
“And they know that access to high quality child care is one of the best ways we can support working parents.’’
Brown also notes $200,000 in grants will be approved by the end of March for operators who want to create new spaces, purchase equipment or make capital improvements.
Grant applications, he adds, have also been received from centres wishing to better meet the child care needs of families who work non-standard hours.