The following statement was read in the House of Assembly today by the Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Education:
Speaker, I rise today in this Honourable House to recognize the week of May 29 to June 4 as Early Childhood Education Week. This week acknowledges and celebrates the crucial role early childhood educators play in the lives of children in guiding their early learning and development through well-planned, play-based learning and exploration of the environment.
Our government, in partnership with the Federal Government, is implementing an Early Learning Action Plan that will significantly expand affordable regulated child care in this province. At the same time, this plan will increase opportunities for career advancement for early childhood educators, and will see the implementation of a wage grid that will see most early childhood educators receiving a wage increase starting in 2023, to better reflect the important work they do.
Last week, we announced more than 30 locations for a pilot Pre-Kindergarten early learning program that will open in 2022-23. The pilot will result in approximately 600 new regulated child care spaces in communities throughout the province, as well as significant career opportunities within the sector.
I would also like to extend congratulations to Nicole Hall of Portugal Cove-St. Philips, recipient of the second annual “Joanne Juteau Early Childhood Education Scholarship” as presented by the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ms. Hall is graduating from the College of North Atlantic, full-time ECE Diploma program this spring with a 4.0 GPA while volunteering at the College as a tutor, helping her peers reach their own success in the ECE program. Ms. Hall also has experience in the field and hopes to open her own child care centre.
I ask all Honourable members to join me in congratulating Ms. Hall, and thanking early childhood educators for their dedication and commitment to providing essential support to families in Newfoundland and Labrador, and encouraging others into this very special profession.