The Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada have announced additional spaces for pre-Kindergarten students with disabilities and developmental delays.
At King George Elementary School on Thursday, the provincial government announced 150 new spaces for its Early Learning Intensive Support (ELIS) program.
King George Elementary School is one of four schools in Moose Jaw taking part in the ELIS program. It is expanding from two to four ELIS spaces, bringing the total number of spaces in Moose Jaw to 12.
“It will allow more kids to come, so there's not a waiting list and just getting that early learning into the kids is absolutely wonderful,” said Moose Jaw Wakamow MLA Greg Lawrence.
The announcement brings the total number of ELIS spaces in the province to 392 across 26 different school divisions.
The program is projected to cost $4.9 million in 2022-2023 with an increase of $2 million from last year for the expansion. The funding is through the Canada-Saskatchewan Bilateral Early Learning and Child Care Agreement between the provincial and federal governments.
“So, we're hopeful that as the bilateral agreement with the federal government goes along, that there's an opportunity that we can expand in future years,” said Education Minister Dustin Duncan.
The ELIS program has more than tripled in size since it began as a pilot project in 2018 with 120 spaces in Regina and Saskatoon.
Since 2018, more than 750 students have accessed the ELIS program.