June 28th, 2017

McNeil must answer pre-primary questions

Several issues identified with proposal

HALIFAX - NDP Early Childhood Education spokesperson Claudia Chender says the Liberals' pre-primary expansion seems to be another example of this government acting without listening the people on the front lines.

"It looks like the Liberal government has put very little thought into the actual logistics of this proposal," said Chender, MLA for Dartmouth South. "We're almost in July and some very basic issues haven't been resolved. This pre-primary expansion seems to be a poorly-planned, rash decision that could have negative impacts on existing child care services."

The Liberal government has said that they will have 22 additional pre-primary programs up and running by September.

Some of the issues that the NDP caucus have become aware of include:

  • The Liberals will have to make regulatory changes to allow children as young as 4 to attend before and after school programs.
  • According to Transport Canada guidelines, children under 40 lbs should wear seat belts on school buses. The Liberals have not confirmed that 4 year olds under 40 lbs will be able to ride busses to pre-primary.
  • Capital upgrades will be required in schools to create at least some of the 22 proposed centres, but it is unclear if these renovations can be tendered and completed by September.

"When it comes to caring for our children, I think it's reasonable for parents, early childhood educators, and teachers, to want to know basic information like will their child be able to take the bus to a pre-primary program," said Chender. "Parents deserve answers from Minister Churchill and Stephen McNeil."