News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

April 6, 2011

PROVINCE CREATES NEW EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION UNIT, COMMITS ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO ENSURE KIDS READY FOR SCHOOL: ALLAN



The Manitoba governmentis creating an Early Childhood Education Unit within Manitoba Education to increase the connection between early-childhood education and the formal kindergarten to Grade 12 education system.  The province will also invest $300,000 in early-childhood development to support families and communities as they prepare young children for success when they start school,Education Minister Nancy Allan and Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors Minister Jim Rondeau announced today.

The new unit will monitor and disseminate research respecting early-childhood development, connect research to practice in terms of using Early Development Instrument (EDI) data to improve programming and student success in early-years education and assist school divisions in their efforts to work alongside community partners to promote integrated programming and services to support families and children before they reach kindergarten.

“In the past decade, research has shown a child’s experiences in the earliest years of life have a profound influence on their lifelong health, learning and behaviour,” Allan said.  “Quality, early‑learning experiences are critical to a child’s success in school and later in life, so it is vitally important that we work with our partners in and out of government to help families and communities ensure kids are ready to start kindergarten.”

In addition, the province will provide $300,000 in new funding for school divisions to collaborate with communities on strategic investments in the critical early-childhood period.  A portion of this funding is targeted to schools that have shown high vulnerability according to the EDI data.  The ministers said increasing opportunities for kids to learn through play, supporting positive parenting and linking parents to each other and their community will help to ensure children do well at school.

In Manitoba, community data is collected every two years using the EDI, which measures children’s readiness to learn at school.  The five key areas evaluated are physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and thinking skills, and general knowledge and communication skills.

 “We are committed to working together to support the whole child, within families, schools and communities,” Rondeau said.  “By strengthening existing community and inter-sectoral partnerships, and developing new resources for early learning, we will better support parents as they prepare their young children for that important transition to school.”

 “These new school readiness initiatives are part of our overall effort to build an education system that is as seamless as possible from early learning, all the way to post-secondary education and careers,” said Allan.  “We’ve proposed amendments to our Preparing Students for Success Act which would require early-learning or child-care facilities to be included in all new schools and major renovation projects.”

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