The Government of Saskatchewan announced on Friday that more than 30 program spots will be opened in Regina and Saskatoon, for deaf and hard of hearing preschoolers.
The program will be delivered through a partnership with the Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and Regina Public Schools.
One half-day program will operate in both Regina and Saskatoon, with up to 16 three and four-year-old children in each program.
Parents or guardians of program-eligible children who are deaf and hard of hearing are encouraged to apply by contacting Regina Public Schools or Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Association directly.
Additionally, siblings, cousins or family friends of a similar age, as well as children or family members of deaf and hard of hearing individuals are encouraged to apply in order to build communication and social skills and encourage ongoing learning and interaction.
“I know how important it is to make sure our youngest learners have every opportunity to succeed,” Deputy Premier and Minister of Education Gordon Wyant said.
“Thanks to these new partnerships, I am pleased that children who need to access these supports can readily do so.”
“We know how important it is for children to have a good start in life so that they can succeed,” Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos said.
“I am pleased to see that funding from the Canada-Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care Agreement will be used to support this inclusive early learning pilot for preschool-aged children who are deaf and hard of hearing. This opportunity will help them reach their full potential.”
“This investment creates greater equity in the education sector by improving the quality of early learning for preschool-aged children who are deaf and hard of hearing and allows every child to have a fair chance at success” Federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale added.
The Children Communicating, Connecting and in Community pilot aims to provide quality early learning environments, including professionals who work to reduce communication barriers by facilitating language development and communication skills for children who are deaf and hard of hearing.
“Success in school and in life begins with access to education,” Regina Board of Education Chair Katherine Gagne said in a statement.
“We are grateful to the Government of Canada, and the Government of Saskatchewan for helping Regina Public Schools, and Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services offer this pilot that will benefit children from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities. This pilot project will provide more support for preschool-aged children and will help build a solid foundation for our youngest learners.”
“In order to flourish, Deaf and Hard of Hearing students need a language rich learning environment that fosters a sense of belonging,” Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Executive Director Nairn Gillies said.
“All children need an environment that is welcoming and is designed to meet the needs of the students. I am so proud to be able to partner with the community to create accessible preschool programming, with a strong focus on parent engagement.”
This pilot program is funded through the Canada-Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care Agreement and runs until 2020.
This agreement provides nearly $41 million in funding to Saskatchewan toward accessibility, inclusivity and quality in early learning and childcare.