The Key Text from the Throne Speech

April 5, 2008

We believe the next logical step in this evolution of public education is to bring kindergarten into the school system. My Government is committed to achieving this during the current mandate, following a thorough, careful and sensitive consultation process.

My Government recognizes the importance of the early childhood years, and applauds the professional efforts of early childhood educators who support families with their knowledge, talents and commitment. Our transition to full public kindergarten will be undertaken in partnership with the early childhood education community.

My Government stands firm in its commitment that every child deserves the best start in life. Therefore, we applaud the Chances Best Start Program which helps children and families. In recognition of Government’s commitment, funding for this program will be expanded to include children from 18 to 24 months in 2008-2009.

Unquestionably, Prince Edward Island must do more to offer Island children the best possible education so that their inherent talents and abilities are able to flourish and thrive.

My Government also understands that programs offered by our schools should be equitably available to every Islander. On the basis of that understanding, my Government will begin to eliminate student fees for curriculum-based activities. This measure will remove any potential impediments to families who only want the best for their children.

Further, my Government recognizes the importance of a healthy diet for learning. Many volunteers and educators have worked tirelessly to establish 50 breakfast and nutrition programs across our Island. My Government will support this dedication to the health and well-being of young Islanders by introducing additional supports for breakfast programs in Island schools.

My Government will also enhance family literacy projects, which have proven to be very successful over the last year. The Spring Into Reading program brings families together by helping parents to become more engaged in the literacy skills of their children. Similarly, my Government is proud of the progress made in schools to help ensure that every Island child has an opportunity to learn. As part of my Government’s new Learning Disabilities Strategy now in development, our speech language pathologists will help children in grades two to six with language and literacy challenges.

My Government also applauds the ambitious progress that is being made by primary teachers to help Island children develop much stronger literacy skills in the early grades.

This year, the Student Achievement Action Plan will include the addition of four new literacy coaches in Island schools. The success of the program will help to guide potential new initiatives in early numeracy. Another important initiative under the Student Achievement Action Plan is the introduction of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.


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.