Funding for Early Learners: ESL / Francisation
What School Jurisdictions and Private ECS Operators need to know for Early Childhood Services
The changing fabric of Alberta’s workforce has created opportunities and challenges. New workers often come to Alberta, to seek stable employment and an improved life. Many have had little or no exposure to English. New experiences can be challenging and lead to feelings of isolation. Many of our newcomers will leave Alberta as a result.
Albertans value the culture that our new Canadians bring to our Province. As Albertans, we’re known for welcoming newcomers into our community, embracing cultural diversity and doing what we can to make transitions a little bit easier. Most immigrants arrive in Alberta with their family, who may also not speak English, understand our culture and have feelings of isolation. Our responsibility is to help these people access resources and programs, make connections, and integrate into our society with as little difficulty as possible. Through collaborative efforts social agencies, school jurisdictions and private ECS operators can make a difference in the lives of new Albertans, particularly in terms of supporting young children and their families.
Alberta Education recognizes that language development is the cornerstone to learning, and that early supports for young children are a crucial factor and contribute to promoting high school completion. Therefore, beginning in September 2007, Alberta Education will provide funding for children as young as 3 and ½ years old (as of September 1, 2007), who have been identified as benefiting from English as a Second Language (ESL) or Francisation support. It is important for children to have a sound grounding in their families’ first language. Therefore, parents may choose not to have their children participate in this voluntary program.
Through this funding, Alberta Education intends to help school jurisdictions and private ECS operators provide optional programming that is:
- Developmentally appropriate to 3 and ½ year olds
- Rich in language and experiences
- Focused on communication and oral literacy
- Confidence building
- Respectful of family culture and encourages families to maintain culture
- Aimed at providing families with opportunities to be involved and feel supported
- Linked to community services