Nova Scotia

Province to add at least 70 pre-primary classes next fall

Education Minister Zach Churchill is promising to more than double the number of pre-primary classes created this fall. There will be 52 classes open by next month. The plan is to create at least another 70 in September 2018.

There will be 52 classes in place this fall, plus at least 70 more next September

Children attend pre-primary class at Hillside Park Elementary School in Lower Sackville, N.S., on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

There will be a total of 52 pre-primary classes up and running by next month, with an additional 70 planned for next fall.

That's the target Education Minister Zach Churchill offered up after a brief visit to the pre-primary class at Hillside Park Elementary School in Lower Sackville, N.S.

"We're looking at probably at least 70 for next September," Churchill told reporters after chatting with some of the 16 children and two educators who make up the pre-primary class at the school. "But that number could change.… That will most likely be a moving target as this one was."

The original campaign promise was to create 30 classes this fall, but that increased to 50 when the province saw the demand. Close to 1,000 children were pre-registered but that number dropped to 818 once school boards reviewed the eligibility of those who pre-registered.

Children are only allowed into the program if they are at least four years of age by December 31 and live in the area served by the school offering the program. 

Valuable program

Tasha Pitcher's four-year-old daughter Jasmine attends the pre-primary class. The mother of four appreciates the fact that the province created the program this year.

Tasha Pitcher says the pre-primary program is valuable for her four-year-old daughter Jasmine. (Robert Short/CBC)

Pitcher said it was a valuable program for her family. 

"To me very much," she said. "She would have only had four hours in a week at preschool, but because of this program we were able to put her in full-time."

"She'll be better prepared for next year."