Prekindergarten is an early childhood education program available in some schools for children who are three and four years old. There are currently 316 Prekindergarten programs across the province of Saskatchewan.Prekindergarten in Saskatchewan provides:
- holistic child development (social-emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual development);
- a minimum of 12 hours of programming per week for 10 months of the year; and
- a qualified teacher.
Family engagement is a major component of Prekindergarten. Engaging families includes connecting to the school, understanding how to support children in their growth and learning and gaining skills in early childhood development.
Research has shown that high-quality early childhood education programs are a benefit to all children, and that those coming from vulnerable circumstances are most positively impacted.
Short-term benefits of early childhood education include:
- improved intellectual development;
- increased social skills;
- improved health; and
- higher self-esteem.
Long-term benefits include:
- lower rates of juvenile crime;
- fewer teen pregnancies; and
- fewer failed grades and school drop-outs.
The Prekindergarten program targets vulnerable three- and four-year-old children and their families.
Each school division selects which children will be placed in available Prekindergarten programs.
School divisions consider the following circumstances when selecting children for the Prekindergarten program:
- socio-economic factors of the child's family;
- single or teen parent;
- family crisis;
- child/family isolation;
- language or communication delays;
- social, emotional or behavioural challenges; and,
- home language is one other than English.