The KidsFirst Regional Program in the Moose Jaw-Assiniboia area will receive an extra $40,000 to offer mobile early learning opportunities to rural children as part of a joint provincial-federal agreement on child care.
There are 10 KidsFirst Regional areas across the province that will receive funding through this enhanced initiative. Besides the Moose Jaw-Assiniboia area, the other areas to receive $40,000 include Kindersley, Tisdale, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, southwest Saskatchewan, Regina, Yorkton and southeast Saskatchewan.
The Lloydminster-Meadow Lake-the Battlefords area received $45,000 since it is a larger service area.
The two levels of government are providing this additional money to KidsFirst Regional programming under the Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, 2021-26. KidsFirst received $823,500 in funding in 2022-23, so the additional funding increases total program support to $1.2 million.
KidsFirst Regional travels to communities across the province, bringing unique learning opportunities to children up to age five with programs such as take-home literacy kits, story walks and pop-up preschool events.
This increase in funding will allow KidsFirst Regional to reach more children in their communities with learning initiatives that focus on child development, literacy, nutrition, health and well-being.
“Providing KidsFirst Regional with more funding will ensure that regardless of where children live, they can have access to high-quality early learning opportunities,” said Education Minister Dustin Duncan.
“The variety of programs KidsFirst Regional offers will continue to support early childhood development, school readiness goals and positive social engagement in communities across Saskatchewan.”
KidsFirst Regional community developers work with local partners and families such as public health, Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECIP), family resource centres and libraries within smaller urban and rural communities.
They provide activities, events and access to information for families with children up to the age of five that spark creativity, ignite imagination and allow every moment to be a teachable one.
Last year KidsFirst Regional supported almost 16,000 parents and young children in 343 communities. The program also distributed 8,600 early learning kits and backpacks across the province, including activities to enhance all five elements of child development, including linguistic, social-emotional, cognitive, fine and gross motor skills.
“Every child deserves the best start in life,” Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould, said. “The additional funding to KidsFirst programs will help ensure that all families in Saskatchewan have access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning opportunities no matter where they live.”
To find a KidsFirst Regional mobile early learning opportunity near you, click here.