Released on March 14, 2023
Families in rural Saskatchewan with young children will have access to further mobile early learning opportunities, thanks to an additional $405,000 investment from the Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada. Funding for KidsFirst Regional programming was $823,500 in 2022-23. This additional investment, recently provided to KidsFirst Regional areas increases the total program funding 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 own communities with learning initiatives that focus on child development, literacy, nutrition and 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," Education Minister Dustin Duncan said. "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."
There are 10 KidsFirst Regional areas across the province that received funding; Moose Jaw-Assiniboia area, Kindersley area, Tisdale area, Prince Albert area, Saskatoon area, Southwest area, Regina area, Yorkton area and the Southeast area all received $40,000. Lloydminster-Meadow Lake-the Battlefords received $45,000 as they service a larger area.
KidsFirst Regional Community Developers work collaboratively 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.
"Every family is important to us," KidsFirst Regional, Regina-Qu-appelle Area Supervisor Donna Coleman-Trombley said. "If you only have 10 children under the age of five in your community - we still want to come to you and provide programming. Being able to go out into these rural communities shows these families that their children are important no matter where they live."
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 which included 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 visit saskatchewan.ca/residents/family-and-social-support/community-programs-for-new-families-in-canada#kidsfirst-regional.
This increase of $405,000 in funding is being provided through the Canada-Saskatchewan Bi-Lateral Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, 2021-26.
The Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Early Learning and Child Care Agreement was signed on August 13, 2021, for the purposes of enhancing the quality of Early Years Family Resource Centres, improving access to early learning programming in rural and small cities and to implement a risk-based compliance monitoring system for child care for the period April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.
For more information, contact:Chelsey Balaski
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development