In June 2008, the Government of New Brunswick released Be Ready for Success: A 10 year Early Childhood Strategy for New Brunswick, the province’s first long-term strategy for early learning and child care in New Brunswick. The strategy is based on the latest early childhood research and best practices in other jurisdictions. It responds to the challenges and recommendations identified during the 2007 province-wide consultation on early learning and child care.
One of the commitments in Be Ready for Success is to strengthen the capacity of communities and partners to support families and young children. The Government of New Brunswick - one of the first in Canada - is testing integrated early childhood development centers as a way to better integrate early childhood services and supports for parents and young children.
Government has selected four demonstration sites for early childhood development centres for a three-year pilot project in New Brunswick. The centres are in Bath, Moncton, Robertville and Saint John. As part of our Early Childhood Strategy Action Plan, 2008-2009, Government is investing $400,000 annually to create these four demonstration sites.
Extensive evidence exists regarding the benefits of using local expertise, leadership and community support to establish integrated early childhood development and parenting centres. Many early childhood programs and services exist, but are not well integrated. Integration may be achieved through a network of school-based early child development and parenting services which serve as an integrated hub of programs and supports for preschool children and their families. At one site, parents will access the full range of child and family supports available in their community.
Representatives from the Department of Social Development, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and the Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport will work closely with and support the four selected sites in the planning, implementation and evaluation phases of the pilot project.