HAUT-MADAWASKA (GNB) – A total of 36 early learning and child care facilities in the Edmundston region have benefited from $211,874 under the provincial government’s One-Time Quality Improvement Grant program.

“Our government is committed to improving early learning and childcare services and today I am pleased to see how our investment is enhancing early learning and child care facilities in the Edmundston area,” said Economic Development Minister Francine Landry. “Our government’s investment will not only stimulate the economy, but it will help provide a good start in life for many New Brunswickers.”

Landry spoke on behalf of Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny.

The grants help facilities improve indoor and outdoor learning environments, including equipment and materials, for children aged five and under. At least 50 per cent of the grant must be used to enhance or create more natural outdoor play spaces for children.

Landry toured Garderie la petite famille in the Saint-François sector of the rural community of Haut-Madawaska today. The facility received $1,874 to enhance its outdoor play space by creating a more natural learning environment for children.

“The one-time quality improvement grant has had a positive impact on life at the daycare,” said Josée Picard, director and owner of Garderie la petite famille. “It allowed us to enhance our exterior park by adding a touch of colour with cushions and drapes to offer a comfortable space and by creating science and cooking corners as well as an imagination corner with garden decorations. A part of the funding was also used to buy an interior slide and a big play mat.”

The one-time grants will total $4.7 million over two years. In the first year, 506 early learning and child care facilities across New Brunswick have taken advantage of the grant.

The deadline for applying for the one-time quality improvement grant for 2018-19 is Feb. 28, 2019. The grant will be available to all licensed facilities offering services to preschool children aged five and under that have become designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centres.

The One-Time Quality Improvement Grant is part of a federal-provincial, three-year early learning and child care agreement that commits $71 million in investments to improve early learning and child care for preschool-aged children in the province.

A full list of one-time grants by facility in the Edmundston region is available online.

“Today’s announcement is good news for families in the Madawaska and Restigouche region and for all New Brunswickers,” said Madawaska-Restigouche MP René Arseneault. “We are pleased to be able to contribute to improving the quality of early learning and child care facilities while, at the same time, improving their accessibility and inclusiveness.”

Arseneault attended for federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

As part of the federal-provincial agreement, $7.5 million will be awarded annually under the Quality Grant to help facilities deliver quality child care services and meet the criteria of becoming a designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centre. Daycares in the City of Saint John and the Greater Edmundston area were the first two regions eligible to apply to become designated.

In the Greater Edmundston area, all 13 eligible daycares have been designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centres.