Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

March 26, 2012

First-in-Canada Early Learning Model Announced for Lord Selkirk Park

Unique Approach will Complement 47 New Child-care Spaces: Chief

Families in the Lord Selkirk Park Housing Development will be the first in Canada to benefit from a proven model of early learning and child care that will include a curriculum that promotes literacy and language development, in addition to a family resource centre, Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief and Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.

“It’s never too early to reach out to children and their families to provide tools that ensure they are maximizing their learning opportunities in school and throughout life.  The Abecedarian model has shown extremely positive results in the communities that have implemented it from infancy to school entry,” said Chief, who chairs the Healthy Child Committee of Cabinet.  “We expect to see positive results that will last a lifetime as children in the program receive more individual contact and interactions with early childhood educators who tailor their teaching to the needs of each child.”

The Abecedarian approach has been described as “simple but deep” and focuses on making every interaction a learning or teaching opportunity through:

  • learning games as part of daily activities,
  • conversational reading, and
  • incorporating learning and language into daily routines.

“We saw this as a chance to really work with the community and, through a great effort from everyone in Lord Selkirk Park and the many government departments involved in this project, we will achieve better results for children and families,” said Howard.  “We think we can make a difference in the lives of the people who live here and are excited about the opportunity for change.”

The original Abecedarian study began in 1972 in North Carolina.  Research has shown the children who received early learning using the Abcedarian model were more likely to have better reading and math skills, enjoy better health as adults and were less likely to smoke, use drugs or become pregnant as teenagers.  By age 30, the Abecedarian children were over four times more likely to be college graduates, more than twice as likely to be employed and 84 per cent less likely to receive social assistance.

The Abecedarian approach has been incorporated into the program of the Manidoo Gi Minni Gonaan enriched early childhood development centre, which was constructed at Lord Selkirk Park following a $3.1-million investment by the province.  The centre contains 47 new child-care spaces including 16 infant, 16 preschool and 15 school-age spaces.

Established in 2000 and legislated in 2007, the Healthy Child Committee of Cabinet includes the ministers of children and youth opportunities; Aboriginal and northern affairs; culture, heritage and tourism; education; family services and labour; health; healthy living, seniors and consumer affairs; housing and community development; immigration and multiculturalism; and justice.  The Healthy Child Manitoba strategy continues to focus on evidence-based prevention and early intervention from the prenatal period through the school years, in partnership with communities.

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