Wednesday, June 08, 2011

June 8, 2011


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New Tools, Partnership with Sport Manitoba to Prepare Children for Success in School: Selinger
Manitoba is introducing mandatory play-based curricula and expanding physical activity options for children in licensed child-care centres and nursery schools, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.
“All parents want to give their kids the very best start possible and today we’re taking new steps to help parents do just that,” said Selinger.  “Our innovative Early Returns program will bring proven play-based learning methods to Manitoba’s child-care centres and we’re giving care providers more training to help get our kids physically active.”
Early Returns is based on the latest research on early childhood learning that shows learning through play is the best way to give children a head-start in developing healthy social, emotional, cognitive and physical skills, Selinger said.  Early Returns is flexible and will allow each child-care centre to maintain its own values and cultural diversity within the curriculum, and will also support children with special needs, he added.
Child-care centres that offer preschool or nursery-school care for children between two and five years of age will be required to implement an early learning and play-based curriculum that meets provincial standards, or ensure their existing curriculum meets the standards.   
In addition, the province is providing $40,000 to Sport Manitoba to help early childhood educators incorporate play-based and developmentally appropriate physical activity into their daily programming.  This expansion will increase the number of child-care centres that have access to the Sport Manitoba physical education program by about 60 to about 75, the premier said.
“Childhoodobesity and rising inactivity among children threatens the future health of Canada,” said Jeff Hnatiuk, president and CEO, Sport Manitoba.  “Physical literacy gives children the tools they need to take part in physical activity, both for healthy life-long enjoyment as well as sporting success as they grow older.”
As part of an ongoing commitment to support early childhood development, a further $200,000 will be allocated to 26 parent-child coalitions throughout the province to provide ongoing support to community-based programs for families with young children, Selinger said.  This new funding brings the total investment for parent-child coalitions to more than $2.5 million.
Recognizing that parents are the most important and most lasting teachers in a child’s life, parent-child coalitions create opportunities for parents and children to participate together in early childhood experiences that promote children's successful transition to school, the premier said. 
Coalition partners encourage a broad range of services and programming for young children and their families, based on the priorities of positive parenting, nutrition and physical health, play-based learning and community capacity.
“These new early learning initiatives will allow us to give parents a hand and help lay the foundation for successful and active kids, which benefits all Manitobans,” Selinger said.
Early Returns is part of Family Choices, Manitoba’s five-year initiative for early learning and child care and will be supported by further training, mentors and assistance from Manitoba’s Early Learning and Child Care program, Selinger said.  Support from this team will continue to be provided under Early Returns with a commitment of $200,000 in new funding.
The complete version of the Early Returns curriculum framework is available at  Licensed child-care centres and nursery schools are expected to meet the requirements by December 2011.
Since its introduction in April 2008, Family Choices has committed funding for 5,600 more child-care spaces with a goal of 6,500 by 2013.  It has also supported the building of 54 new child-care sites, exceeding its goal of 35 new sites.  Family Choices can be viewed at
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