April 21, 2009
BATH (CNB) - A new early childhood development centre being established in Bath will provide integrated services to preschool children and their families, Social Development Minister Mary Schryer has announced. The centre will open this fall.
Operated by a non-profit board of directors with support from the provincial government, the centre at Bath Middle School will serve as a neighbourhood hub where parents and their children may obtain a diverse range of early childhood programs.
"The government is committed to help young children build the lifelong foundations of learning and success in life," said Schryer, who visited the centre today. "This is an example of the government working with community-based organizations to deliver integrated and high-quality early childhood services to parents and children."
The government has announced the establishment of three other centres, at École élémentaire La Croisée de Robertville in Robertville; St. John the Baptist-King Edward School in Saint John; and École Sainte-Bernadette in Moncton.
Each centre will have a team of staff delivering programming to parents and children. Core programming at each site will include full- and part-time childcare as well as parent and child drop-in programs and playgroups. Immunization clinics, healthy lifestyle programs, toy and resource lending libraries and 3.5-year-old clinics may also be offered, based on local community needs.
"There is compelling research that shows integrated child development programs improve outcomes for children by providing a strong foundation for learning, behaviour and health that continues through the school years and into adulthood," Schryer said.
The four sites were selected as part of a call for proposals for the piloting of early childhood development centres in rural and urban and anglophone and francophone communities over the next three years.
Social Development is providing $100,000 in annual funding for each of the centres for the duration of the pilot. The departments of Education; Health; and Wellness, Culture and Sport will also be involved in the evaluation of the sites, and they will collaborate on programming with non-profit boards of directors, based on local needs.
Establishing early childhood development centres is part of the government's commitment to better support families and young children within local communities as part of Be Ready for Success: A 10-year early childhood strategy for New Brunswick.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Hagerman, communications, Social Development, 506-444-2416.