Pre-primary FAQ: Program Overview

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 Pre-primary Program manage behavior guidance challenges and inclusion?

ECEs use developmentally appropriate strategies such as setting clear expectations, re-direction, and positive reinforcement to guide children’s behaviour.

ECEs support children to find positive ways to respond to situations. Children learn to make good decisions when clear expectations are set. ECEs model respectful behaviour, help them learn problem-solving skills and teach them social emotional skills.

Children who attend the Pre-primary Program are not subject to the public school Code of Conduct Policy.

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

There will be two ECEs for a group of 20 children. Where a group is over 20 to a maximum of 24, a third staff will be added.

How will children be supported as they transition into grade primary?

The Pre-primary Program Lead in your Regional Centre for Education or the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial will begin this process by contacting the elementary school and support team.

There will be meetings with the Pre-primary Program team including community supports and the school team.

Families are at the centre of all discussions relating to their children and will be invited to all meetings and be encouraged to lead the process as much as they wish.

How will I know how my child is progressing?

Regular communication between family and ECE is critical in the Pre-primary Program.  In addition, there will be team meetings focussing on the child’s strengths, needs and goals.  

Meetings will happen throughout the year and provide an opportunity for the family and team to discuss how the child is developing and adjust goals based on current strengths, needs, and family wishes.

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.

Is lunch provided?
Two nutritious snacks are provided each day. Children bring their lunch.
Is there a cost?

No. The Pre-primary Program is free to all children and families who meet the eligibility requirements (will be at least four years old by December 31 and live in the catchment area of the school offering the Pre-primary Program).

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.
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. 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?

All materials and equipment are provided by the program.

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.

Who is eligible to attend the Pre-primary Program?

Children must be at least four years of age on or before December 31 of the year they enroll.

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.

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 a French immersion Pre-primary Program?

French immersion is not available in the Pre-primary Program. Early French immersion is a public-school program that begins in Primary.

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

Families are responsible for arranging before and after care, and any related costs.

Some schools have the Nova Scotia Before and After Program (NSBAP), for further information on that program, families can reach out to their Early Childhood Educators.

For more information on the NSBAP program, please visit the following website:

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.