Pre-primary FAQ: Program Details

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 a full change of clothing 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.

How does pre-primary differ from day care?

The Pre-primary Program is a free program for four-year-olds in the province. The program is offered in the school setting which 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 other early learning and child care programs.

How does the reorganization of school boards impact the Pre-primary Program?

The Pre-primary Program is a provincial program which will be available to all four-year-olds in Nova scotia by 2020.  There will be no impact to the Pre-primary Program.

Is lunch provided?
Two nutritious snacks are provided each day. Children bring their lunch.
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 ensure that the outdoor play space is safe and developmentally appropriate for children in the Pre-primary program and will plan to use the existing outdoor space available through the use of loose parts and other natural elements to enhance the children’s learning and play.

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.

Must my child attend every day?

As the Pre-primary Program is voluntary, how often a family chooses to send their child is up to the family.

If you intend to send your child part time, please ensure your child’s ECEs are aware of what days they are or are not attending. Families are welcome to modify that arrangement at anytime.

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 encourage you to speak with the Early Childhood Educator prior to doing this.
There is an Early Years Centre in my area. Is pre-primary replacing it?

The Early Years Centres will remain in place.The Early Learning Program component of the Early Years Centres has transitioned to a Pre-primary Program.

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?

Over the next four years, we will open more than 250 Pre-primary Programs across the province. Once complete, the Pre-primary Program will be available province wide.Government will not be covering the cost of child care for children who are not attending the Pre-primary Program. 

What about outdoor play? Should I be concerned about my child playing with older children on the playground.

The Pre-primary Program values the opportunity for children to play outside, considering the outdoor learning environment of equal value to the indoor.

ECEs are trained to understand the outdoor environment and look for safe, exciting and stimulating play areas around the school. ECE’s and children may go on walks to local parks or find nearby wooded areas and other surroundings in their community to explore.

Families will be asked to sign a consent form at the beginning of the year which outlines the locations in the general school community which the ECEs may go with the children.

ECEs will consider the schedule of the school i.e. when other children are outside, as they plan their day. In the beginning ECEs will take the Pre-primary Program children outside when other children who attend the school are not there.

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

The Pre-primary Program follows the school year.

The program will start and end the same as the school day in the schools offering the program.

For start and end times for your child’s school, please contact the school directly.

The Pre-primary Program is 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.

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.

For further information on the Pre-primary Program, download please see the Pre-primary Fact Sheet.

What supplies do children need to bring?

Children bring their lunch and a pair of indoor shoes. A spare change of clothes is helpful as there is a lot of messy play.

Outdoor clothes for all weather is important as the children spend a lot of time outside.

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

Pre-primary is a voluntary program. Families decide whether they want to enroll their children.

A quality early learning program like the Pre-primary Program can make the transition to school smoother and provides children with the best start to succeed in school and life.

Will my child get a report card?

Your child will not receive a report card for the Pre-primary Program.

There will be opportunities for you to meet with the ECEs to discuss your child’s development throughout the year.

Part of the Nova Scotia Early Learning Curriculum Framework involves documentation of the children’s play. Upon visiting your child’s learning environment, you are likely to see examples of what the children have been doing displayed.

Your child will also have a portfolio of things they have created while they attend the program that they can show you.

You are encouraged to speak to your child’s ECEs at anytime throughout the year should you have any questions, concerns or wish to discuss their progress in general.

Will there be homework?

Homework is not part of the Nova Scotia Early Learning Curriculum Framework which guides the Pre-primary Program.

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 there be orientation for my child before Pre-primary Program?

Each Regional Centre for Education or Conseil scolaire acadien provincial will determine how they will orient and welcome new children and families to the program.  Some may have orientation days in the spring and others may have open houses in September.