Catholic Division eligible for program to maximize early learning for 2024-2025

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The Prince Albert Catholic School Division welcomed news that families can enrol students in both pre-Kindergarten and registered childcare spaces through the Maximizing Early Learning Spaces program.

Minister of Education Jeremy Cockrill sent a letter to the division dated Jan. 10 notifying them that school divisions are allowed to accept children into Pre-K that also attend regulated childcare spaces for the 2024-2025 school year.

PA Catholic School Division Education Director Lorel Trumier said it’s a good option for parents.

“We think that’s something that should happen and we’re happy that he’s put that in writing,” Trumier said following the board’s regular meeting on Jan. 29.

“We do know across the province that there had been on a case-by-case basis some exceptions to it, but generally this will be a new to our families here in Prince Albert. We are looking forward to having them informed about that matter.”

The policy allows families to have alternating days between pre-Kindergarten and licenced daycare

“If they’re already accessing daycare arrangements, then on the alternative days they still can participate in pre-kindergarten opportunities,” Trumier explained.

According to Cockrill’s letter, the policy is meant to make sure that preschool students are enrolled in the program that best suits their needs. It also is meant to ensure that the maximum number of children have access to early learning without duplication of services.

The letter also states that the recent implementation of regulated childcare affordability has placed a strain on the system and the Ministry is reviewing early years programming to ensure needs are met in communities.

The letter was addressed to all directors of education in the province.

Trumier said that because Pre-Kindergarten is not a universal program there are not enough spaces for everyone, which creates challenges for families.

“We would hope that could occur but at this moment in time in this province, it’s not universal,” she said. “We do have 11 programs in our school division and so we have lots of spaces for our communities, so parents who are interested in pre-kindergarten, they’re certainly encouraged to reach out to the schools as soon as possible and registrations are occurring.”

The Maximizing Early Learning Spaces policy was implemented in 2012.