Pre-Primary FAQ: Program Details

Is there a cost?

No. The Pre-Primary Program is free to Nova Scotians.

What is the Pre-Primary Program? What can I expect my child to be doing while they are there?

The Pre-Primary Program is a child-centered, play based program for children the year before they start school. This opportunity will help them transition into the school system and provide experiences that give children the best start to succeed in school and life.

How does pre-primary differ from day care?

Pre-primary is a free program for four-year-olds in the province. The program is offered in the school setting and helps children to transition into Primary the following year.

Based on the experience of other jurisdictions participation in school-based early learning programs is typically high, reaching children and families who might not otherwise be able to access regulated childcare.

How many children will be in my child’s class?

The maximum number of children in a class will be 24, supported by three staff.

Will transportation be available like it is for primary children?

Parents will be responsible to arrange transportation for their children.

Will there be before and/or after school care? Who arranges it?

Arranging before and after school care, and any related costs, will be the responsibility of parents.

What are the operating hours of the program? Is it available all year?

The Pre-Primary Program is available during the school year.

The program will start and end the same as the school day. There may be some exceptions. School boards will communicate those exceptions directly to parents upon confirmation of their registration.

The pre-primary program will also be closed during all school in-service days, professional development days, storm days, holidays and over the summer months.

If the school isn’t open, the Pre-Primary Program will not open.

Is the program mandatory or voluntary?

The program is voluntary. Parents choose whether to enroll their child in the program. Pre-primary is NOT required to enter Primary.

What will it mean for my child’s learning if I keep him out of pre-primary?

This is a voluntary program and a decision of parents whether they want to enroll their children. We know that children who have a quality early learning experience prior to starting school have an easier transition into the school system and have positive developmental outcomes.

Once registered, must my child attend every day?

Regular attendance is recommended; however, how often a child attends the program is a parent’s decision.

Must I notify the school each time I choose not to bring my child?

It is always helpful for educators to know if your child will not be attending. Regular communication with the Early Childhood Educators will be encouraged and supported.

Do I need to buy supplies for my child?

No. Each Pre-Primary class will receive supplies, materials and resources as part of the program.

Will my child be fed in the Pre-Primary program?

Children attending the Pre-Primary Program will be provided two snacks throughout the day. One in the morning as children arrive, and one in the afternoon. Parents will be responsible for sending a lunch with their child. Food offered in the Pre-Primary Program will be guided by the Standards for Food and Nutrition in Regulated Child Care Settings as per the Day Care Regulations, as well as Canada’s Food Guide.

Will my child go outside to play and should I be concerned they will be on the playground with older children?

Your child will be going outside to play and is an integral part of the Early Learning Curriculum that will be followed in the Pre-Primary Program.

Keeping young children safe is a priority and every effort will be made to ensure the outdoor play space is age appropriate and user-friendly for the children.

Are there foods I can’t send with my child to school?

If the school has a policy for excluded foods due to allergies and/or food sensitivities, the Pre-Primary Program will follow the same policy. Please check with the school for these food exclusions.

Do I need to provide extra clothes?

It is a good idea to pack an extra pair of pants and socks for your child, as bathroom accidents and other messy spills are common at this age and outdoor play will be an important part of your child’s day.

Should I send toys and other play items with my child to the program?

Toys and other resources will be provided by the program. If children want to bring toys from home, we would encourage a discussion with the Early Childhood Educator.

Will there be homework?

Homework is not part of the Early Learning Curriculum. There will be opportunities for educators and families to share what activities and learning children are engaged in, and how their interests can be supported in the program and at home.

Will my child get a report card?

Your child will not receive a report card at the end of the year. There will be opportunities for you to meet with the Early Childhood Educator to discuss your child’s development throughout the year.

There is no school offering Pre-primary in my community/neighbourhood and my son/daughter will have to remain in childcare while other children will attend pre-primary for free. Is government going to cover the cost of childcare for my son/daughter?

This is year one of a four-year implementation of pre-primary across the program. The program will be available in 43 locations this fall, with more locations being added each year.  Government will not be covering the cost of child care for children who are not attending pre-primary. 

Most of the playground equipment at current schools is set for ages 5-12. Will there be additional or new playgrounds built for the Pre-primary age group?

Natural outdoor place space is an extension of the indoor classroom and encourages a child’s interaction with the natural environment. Early Childhood Educators will ensure that the outdoor play space is safe and developmentally appropriate for children in the Pre-primary program.