Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant was joined at the Regina Public Library today by parents, children, and educators, to announce more than $2 million for literacy initiatives for children aged six and under across the province.
“The earlier we get these literacy resources in the hands of our children, the better,” Wyant said. “We are committed to providing families the supports needed for the development of these foundational skills.”
“The Government of Canada is committed to helping middle class families access quality early learning and child care,” Federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale said. “Today’s announcement will help more children get a better start in life right across Saskatchewan.”
Funding for these initiatives is being provided through the Canada-Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, and includes:
• $560,000 in grant money for the purchase of children’s books by licensed child care facilities;
• $120,000 to purchase multilingual children’s books for public libraries;
• $400,000 to the Saskatchewan Literacy Network to provide free training sessions to parents, care-givers and educators on how to incorporate early literacy into both programming and home life;
• $400,000 to KidsFirst for a series of fun, family-friendly literacy programs for preschool-aged children in communities across Saskatchewan;
• $500,000 in books and other resources for early learning programs and to supplement training and community events hosted by the Saskatchewan Literacy Network and KidsFirst; and
• $75,000 to produce instructional videos showing educators and parents how they can incorporate early literacy in their programming and at home.
In recognition of Saskatchewan’s growing and diverse population, some of this funding has been specifically earmarked for the purchase of children’s books in languages other than English. These books will be made available via public libraries across the province.
Young families are also being given access to free events, where both children and their parents can learn new ways to develop literacy skills, in a fun, family-friendly environment.
“These free literacy programs are taking place right now in communities all across Saskatchewan,” Regional KidsFirst Early Years Community Developer Chlorisa Erickson said. “They are an excellent opportunity for young families to come together and have some fun, while also learning about language and building their child’s literacy skills.”
For contact information for free KidsFirst literacy events in your region, please visit https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/family-and-social-support/child-care/kidsfirst#locations.