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Pre-primary program implementation complete

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Department of Education and Early Childhood Development of Nova Scotia
Press release
Publication Date: 
2 Oct 2020


Every four-year-old in Nova Scotia now has access to pre-primary, a free, universal early learning program.

Premier Stephen McNeil visited Colby Village Elementary School, in Dartmouth today, Oct. 2, to celebrate the full rollout of the program.

“Pre-primary is an investment in the future of our province by supporting our youngest Nova Scotians and their families,” said Premier McNeil. “Thousands of children and families across Nova Scotia have benefited from pre-primary since it launched in 2017, and now countless more will have the same opportunity.”

Pre-primary is available in all 253 school communities with elementary schools. Government will invest about $51.4 million this year to deliver the program.

“We are giving children a head start and better future by preparing them today for tomorrow. Families have told us about the positive changes they see when their kids are part of the program,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “Thank you to the children, their families and our early childhood educators for making this program such a success.”

In addition to universal pre-primary, the province has completed its rollout of busing for eligible pre-primary children. Access to busing reduces barriers for families, especially in rural areas, to access the program.

Families who wish to register their child for pre-primary can still contact their Regional Centre for Education or the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial.


My children were not in preschool or daycare, so being able to attend pre-primary has helped them make friends, learn about routines, develop socialization skills, try new foods and simple things like how to line up in a line, and become more independent. - Amber Misner, parent of a current pre-primary and former primary student

Being in pre-primary before starting primary better prepared our child for school. She is the kind of child who excels in a structured learning environment and by having early access to that environment it strengthened her positive feelings about school and allowed her experience lots of successes. - Lauren Randall, parent of a former pre-primary student

Quick Facts:

  • In 2020-21, pre-primary enrolled more than 5,900 children in 379 classes, supported by more than 850 early childhood educators
  • Since the first year of pre-primary in 2017, more than 14,000 four-year-olds have attended the program
  • About 2,600 pre-primary children are riding the school bus