The School Act states that a board or an approved school authority may provide an ECS program to a child who is younger than 6 years of age as of September 1. Base Instruction Funding may be provided for the child to attend kindergarten for 475 hours in the year before Grade One, if they are at least 5 years old by March 1 of the school year.
Kindergarten not only helps prepare children for entry into Grade 1, but also provides a foundation for later success. Kindergarten provides learning experiences that meet the diverse needs of children and promote a positive attitude toward lifelong learning. A child whose developmental needs have been met is more likely to grow into a self-reliant, responsible, caring and contributing member of society.
Local school authorities may offer full-day kindergarten, or programs for children younger than Kindergarten age. Schools may charge a fee for ECS programs.
Program Unit Funding (PUF), in addition to Base Instruction Funding, is available to approved ECS operators and school authorities for young children who are 2½ to 6 years of age by September 1, and who have been identified with a severe disability/delay. Children are eligible for up to three years of ECS funded programming, depending on age, severity of the disability/delay and its impact on the child’s ability to function within an ECS program. The Standards for the Provision of Early Childhood Special Education apply to children who meet the eligibility criteria for special education programming.
PUF, in addition to the Base Instruction is provided for children with mild to moderate disabilities/delays, those who are gifted and talented or who are learning English as an additional language. Children who meet the eligibility criteria must be at least 3½ years and less than 6 years of age on September 1.