May is Early Childhood Education Month
A message from Janet Mitchell, Acting Executive Director, Early Years Branch, Government of Saskatchewan.
On behalf of the Early Years Branch, Ministry of Education, I would like to wish you all the best for Early Childhood Education Month this May. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to all Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) on Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day which is May 15, 2017.
In Saskatchewan, the month and day have been celebrated for many years. It is encouraging to know that various events and initiatives in support of the month and day have occurred across the province each year.
The Early Years Branch is committed to the success of children in our province, and we understand the important impact that early childhood education will have on their future. ECEs play an essential role in providing high quality environments and positive early learning experiences for children. By doing this, along with building strong relationships with families, ECEs are contributing to the lifelong success of children.
The quality early years programs and initiatives that your program provides helps Saskatchewan children have opportunities to develop physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.
Early Years Plan
Last May, you were informed of the release of Saskatchewan’s Early Years Plan 2016 - 2020 in support of young children and families. The plan provides goals and strategic outcomes in the following areas: healthy beginnings, early learning, child care, strong families and healthy children, and community planning and alignment.
Over the course of the past year, the Ministry of Education has been working with early years stakeholders across the province, including those in child care, to achieve goals set out in the Early Years Plan. Much progress has been made on the plan over the course of the first year to better align and coordinate early years services.
Highlights of progress to date includes:
- Development of nine, 90-space child care centres in joint use schools in Regina, Warman, Saskatoon and Martensville opening in the fall of 2017. These centres will use a new model that prioritizes building a strong, intentional relationship between the child care, school, parents and community, as well as mandatory implementation of early childhood programming.
- The Ministry of Justice has developed the Family Matters program to link families going through separation and divorce with family law information, including resources through a website and a toll free telephone line.
- Continued funding for 316 Prekindergarten programs across the province. Prekindergarten focuses on fostering social development and self-esteem, nurturing educational growth and school success, promoting language development and engaging families.
In the upcoming year, we will continue to focus on actions like improved targeting of Prekindergarten programs for vulnerable children, making it easier for parents to find local child care and early learning programs and connecting vulnerable families with better aligned community-based home visiting programs. Through this work, we will improve understandings of how families use services and develop solutions to collectively address challenges.
Thanks to everyone for their dedication and commitment to the early years and enjoy this special month!
Acting Executive Director, Early Years Branch