FREDERICTON (GNB) – As part of the provincial Early Learning and Child Care Week, the government announced that there are now 30,183 licensed child care spaces in the province.

The government committed in 2014 to increasing the total number of licensed child care spaces to 30,000 by 2020. As of June 1, there were 2,328 infant spaces, 12,185 preschool spaces and 15,670 school-age spaces licensed in the province.

“These spaces will help New Brunswick families access affordable, high-quality child care across the province,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “Our early childhood educators not only ensure the safety of our children, but they tailor learning objectives in the curriculum to create educational adventures that are fun and engaging for children. They inspire a love of learning.”

The milestone was celebrated as New Brunswickers observe the 12th annual provincial Early Learning and Child Care Week (June 3-7) and Early Childhood Educator Day (June 5). These events raise awareness about early learning and child care services and promote early childhood education as a profession.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has surpassed its goal of having 300 New Brunswick Early Learning Centres by March 2020. As of June 1, 380 centres had become designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centres and 106 home-based daycares had been designated as Early Learning Homes, representing nearly 90 per cent of centres and 70 per cent of homes eligible for these designations. Overall, 13,101 licensed child care spaces are in designated facilities.

These designations of early learning centres and homes are intended to help parents with children up to the age of five access more affordable and high-quality child care services. Parents whose children attend these facilities may be eligible for improved subsidies. The parents of more than 2,360 children benefit from the Parent Subsidy program while child care is free for the parents of nearly 1,400 children.