The Early Learning Opportunities Program will save the Halifax regional school board about $314,000.
The board announced this week it’s replacing the long-standing Four-Plus program with a new program, aimed at three- and four-year-olds, to reflect the province’s change to the entry age for Grade Primary.
Seven early childhood educators, instead of teachers, will be employed in the program. The previous program cost $681,000, so the board is saving about half.
An additional adult will also be in the classrooms of up to 18 students, making the child-adult ratio one to nine, the same as it was for Four-Plus.
Provincial regulations for daycares require a one to eight ratio for staff and children between age three and five.
Schools and hospitals are exempt from daycare act and therefore do not have to observe the ratios, says Halifax regional school board spokesman Doug Hadley.
Cathy Mutch, who operates Crystal Day Nursery in Dartmouth, says that seems a bit high.
“There’s going to be some issues as to how ready it’s really going to make them for school,” she said.