New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network

Early Childhood Development Centres

Margaret McCain, a former lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick and a member of one of the province’s most prominent families, is talking revolution.

McCain said yesterday that the early childhood development centres, pioneered in part by the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation, are helping to lay the foundation for societal change in the province, Chris Morris, C1, also TJ A1, DG A1.

The centres were set up through a pilot-project partnership between the provincial government, which funded four centres starting in 2009, and the Margaret Wallace McCain Family Foundation, which funded five additional sites in 2010 and provided a grant to evaluate the pilots.

McCain said in an interview the evaluation of the pilot project, released Tuesday, is very positive. She hopes the development centres now can be expanded throughout the province.

‘If we really want to change society and make it less violent and help children get off to a good start, to be productive, to behave better, to learn better and to be healthier – then we have to start working in the early years,’ McCain said following the release of the report.

‘I am talking about societal change. It’s really quite revolutionary.’ Most of the existing nine centres are located in schools, and the new report states those are the best places to locate the childhood development centres – essentially daycares with a focus on early learning and support for families.

‘Having early childhood services in one central hub ensures increased access and support for families,’ states the report by the Health and Education Research Group, a research unit in the University of New Brunswick’s education department.

McCain, who served as New Brunswick’s lieutenant-governor between 1994 and 1997, said the centres offer children optimal learning environments that stimulate their development, something that could help boost the province’s historically low literacy rates.

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