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August 27, 2007
For immediate release
Government Increases Funding For Kindergarten
Cabinet has approved a $220,000 increase in funding for Kindergarten in the 2007-2008 year, effective immediately. This represents a 7 per cent increase in the annual Kindergarten budget which is now $3.4 million.
“Increased emphasis on lifelong learning, particularly among young Islanders, is a major priority of government,” Premier Robert Ghiz said. “In the years to come, government will concentrate a great deal of effort to improve in these areas.”
There are 88 community-based kindergarten programs in Prince Edward Island. The cost to run the core program is fully covered by the provincial government. Average provincial government spending on kindergarten is now $2,200 per child per year.
Education Minister Gerard Greenan said kindergarten operators will use some of the new funding to increase the wages of early childhood educators working in kindergarten programs to at least $13 per hour. “Early childhood educators have a tremendous positive influence on early learning and the healthy development of our children. We are pleased to take this first step toward our commitment to recognize the important work of early child educators and the excellent job they are doing,” he said. “The new funding will also help operators with rising operating costs such as heat, electricity and insurance costs. It also includes a new annual $500 grant for each program to assist with administrative costs.”
Rheo Rochon, of the Prince Edward Island Early Childhood Development Association (ECDA) and the Early Learning Operators of PEI (ELOPEI) says the new funding will help to improve early learning experiences throughout the province. “The additional funding will assist operators with recruiting and retaining educators, which is an increasing issue within the sector. As well, the new funding model will more effectively address the rising operational costs faced by operators across the province.”
The provincial government provides funding to kindergartens based on the number of children enrolled and the type of program offered. In the past, funding ranged from $160 per child per month in non-profit programs located in schools, to $210 per month for children enrolled in private programs which combine kindergarten and early childhood care.
Under the new and simplified model, funding will increase to $180 per month for each child in a program located in a school. An additional $40 per child per month will be provided to all programs not located in schools.
For more information on kindergarten programs, contact the Department of Education at 902 569 7526 or www.edu.pe.ca.
PEI Kindergarten Program Facts (2006-2007):
• 88 Kindergarten programs
• 78 English, 6 French First Language, 4 French Immersion programs
• 1,287 children enrolled
• Programs must provide at least 2.5 hours of instruction per day for at least 9 months
• Programs follow the provincial curriculum and school calendar
• Approximately 140 early childhood educators work in kindergarten programs
• Children must now be five-years old by August 31 to enter kindergarten
• Parents may register children in the program of their choice
• Government covers the full cost of the core kindergarten program.
• Government spends on average $2,200 per kindergarten student per year