Parents for Choice & Quality Applaud Government

April 4, 2008

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
April 4, 2008

PARENTS FOR CHOICE & QUALITY APPLAUD GOVERNMENT FOR RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE EARLY YEARS

The Parents for Choice and Quality wish to applaud the Honourable Premier Ghiz and his government for recognizing the importance and long term benefits of investing in the early childhood years.

We agree that kindergarten programs will benefit Island children within a school setting.  We are encouraged to hear that the government plan to conduct a thorough, careful and sensitive consultation process prior to any changes transpiring.  “There are many factors to consider. We believe in an integrated system of community-based early child development and parenting centres linked to the school system.” said April Ennis, co-chair of Parents for Choice and Quality.

“We are looking forward to continued consultation and work with the government regarding the early years.” commented Jane Boyd, co-chair of Parents for Choice and Quality. “We are pleased that the government recognizes that Prince Edward Island must do more to offer Island children the best possible education. We know that the way to do that is to start in the early years.”

Expanded funding for children ages 18 – 24 months to the CHANCES Best Start Program is a welcomed announcement which will benefit families greatly.

Parents for Choice and Quality support the development and implementation of a high quality early learning and support system for all preschool aged children and their families on PEI. The group, representing mothers, fathers, grandparents, child care centres, industry professionals and concerned citizens of PEI, has grown quickly out of concern related to recent government decisions that are impacting early childhood development.

We envision a system for Early Child Development that ranks in importance with the formal school system. Such a system would have to be universal. All children would have to be included. Such a system would draw on the well-established research and expertise in the field and on the new best practice in the nation in other provinces.  One of our key goals is to ensure that the interests of parents and our children are paramount and that parents get the choice and the quality that they deserve.

  

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Guardian Questions Lack of Consultation

March 9, 2008

Here are some excerpts from an editorial in the Guardian this weekend.  Click here to see the full text. 

The government is hesitant to make a decision until there is a general consensus for or against. It makes one wonder if this government has a firm stand on anything. So it came as a stunning surprise when the government decided late last week to make a major change to the age when children enter kindergarten and school. 

Kindergarten is one area where parents need lots of time to look for the right facility, get on a waiting list, and budget for the expense. Parents didn’t need to be panicked into making rash decisions. The announcement last Thursday came without warning for the majority involved in early childhood learning, who were given just three days warning to modify lesson plans for the rest of the year and accommodate new children who had never been to kindergarten before. It appears that a small, vocal minority stampeded government into making a rash decision, leaving parents and teachers scrambling to make sense of the whole thing.

Parents don’t want to hold their children back while friends move on. So, during a meeting on Monday, the Education Department told early learning educators and operators they don’t have to try to catch them up. Instead, they are being asked to offer these children a ‘readiness program.’ Yet a senior staffer warned parents this is not the recommended route for children. If senior staff hasn’t signed on, why is the department proceeding? The readiness program is not ready because staff is still scrambling to put it together. 

The new eligibility date will put the P.E.I. start date more in line with the rest of the country, so the issue isn’t the change of dates; it’s the absence of consultation with stakeholders. There should have been a year or more advance warning given.The key issue should have been what’s best for the child. That wasn’t addressed properly here. Greenan had better be prepared for some tough questions when the house opens next month.