Prince Albert school divisions receive funding for Early Learning Intensive Support Program

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The Government of Saskatchewan announced continued investment in the Early Learning Intensive Support Program on Wednesday.

Both the Prince Albert Catholic School Division and Saskatchewan Rivers School Division are receiving some funding for the program. The Catholic Division will receive $300,000 and Sask. Rivers will receive $150,000, according to the Ministry of Education.

The program in the Catholic Division began in March, 2019 when they were one of the school divisions chosen by the Ministry of Education to offer the Early Learning Intensive Support Pilot(ELIS) as part of their prekindergarten programming.

“This investment in Early Learning Programming will have a very positive impact on the students in the program,” PA Catholic School Division education director Lorel Trumier said in a media release. “It also means our ELIS Program can continue,and we will be able to support students with intensive needs at a very early age in schools.

“The school division looks forward to continuing the very worthy program.”

The Daily Herald was unable to reach Saskatchewan Rivers director of education Robert Bratvold before press time.

For the 2020-21 school year, the Catholic Division has been funded for12 spaces in pre-kindergarten. That program helps three and four-year-old children requiring intensive supports to meet their individualized needs.

The ELIS pilot provides funding for the following supports for students that registered through the ELIS Program. The financial investment supports start-up costs, special services such as Occupational Therapy or Early Learning Intensive Supports Specialists and educational assistant staffing.

ELIS spaces were located at St. Catherine Catholic School, St. Francis School,St. Michael Community School,and École St. Anne School in 2020. ELIS sites are determined according to need. Interested families are encouraged to inquire at their local school this fall.

The program began in 2018 in Saskatoon and Regina and expanded in 2019 and 2020 to include Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton and North Battleford.

“Our government is pleased to continue to support this essential program for our youngest learners,” Education Minister Dustin Duncan said in a press release.

“This investment will enhance the essential pre-kindergarten learning environment for nearly 250 more students province-wide.”

The Government of Saskatchewan is providing more than $3 million to the ELIS Program for the 2021-22 school year through the Canada-Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. The program supports the Saskatchewan Disability Strategy by expanding early learning programming to assist young children experiencing disability.  It focuses on the strengths, needs and interests of individual students and supports their requirements, while eliminating learning barriers. to receive a good start on their learning and development.”

According to the province, 23 of 28 Saskatchewan school divisions are offering the program in 2021-22.