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What we heard: Giving children the best start —The early years

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Consultations: June - July 2012
Government of Nova Scotia
Publication Date: 
29 Oct 2012

Full report in pdf (English) (French)

Related link:

The early years: Discussion paper (English) (French)

Nova Scotia early years website

Excerpts from press release:

The province released today, Oct. 29, the consultation report What We Heard: Giving Children the Best Start. People commented on early learning; children's growth, development, and wellness; support for families; the workforce; and leadership, system integration and accountability.

"During the consultations it was clear that families have plenty of expertise on what the issues are and how to solve them," said Education Minister Ramona Jennex. "I want to thank the families, and everyone who took time to share their ideas on how to give our children the best start."

An advisory council, people with interest and expertise in early childhood development, is reviewing the report. It will draw on what was heard, as well as members' experiences, to recommend priorities for the early years later this fall.

"The consultations have given us rich information to help guide our discussion and point us toward creative options," said Anne McGuire, CEO of the IWK Health Centre and co-chair of the advisory council.

Staff in the Early Years project office, from Education, Health and Wellness and Community Services, are reviewing the consultation findings, research and best practices, and data from Nova Scotia and across the country.

Their work, along with the advisory council's recommendations, will help with policy direction and creating an action plan to integrate approaches to early childhood development programs, as committed in the Speech from the Throne this spring.

Every year, the province invests about $100 million in more than 200 early years' programs and services, co-ordinated through several government departments. Organizations at the community level also deliver programs and services.

The range and number of programs and services prompted many to point out the need for "better co-ordination", "one-stop shopping for families", and "a novel way to integrate them."

More than 1,000 Nova Scotians attended focus groups and interested groups sessions, provided written submissions, and completed an online survey responding to the Early Years discussion paper released in May.