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Selinger announces new funding for early learning, day care centres

Manitoba is helping communities in rural and northern Manitoba meet the needs of families by providing more than $400,000 to support small early learning and child-care centres, Premier Greg Selinger said in Winkler Wednesday..

"In some communities there are only a few families who have early learning and child-care needs, but for the parents looking for that care, the need is as real as it is in larger communities," said Selinger. "We recognize that and want to help ensure quality early learning and child care is available to parents across the province."

The premier made the announcement at the Kids Korner Nursery School in the EMM Church on Southview Drive.

"Our government has a strong vision for early learning and child-care options for Manitoba families," said Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard. "This announcement builds on our Family Choices commitment to add 6,500 more funded spaces and enhance 1,000 nursery spaces in the province. It also builds on our commitment to increase wages and introduce the first-ever provincewide pension plan for child-care workers, which encourages people to enter and stay in this important field."

As part of Family Choices, Manitoba's five-year agenda for early learning and child care, the new funding will help small centres remain financially stable and improve wages for their early childhood educators. This will help centres retain valuable employees and ensure children have access to

high-quality environments and programming all year, the premier said.

Improvements include:

* funding to help ensure long-term viability for more than 200 existing unfunded spaces that were operating prior to April 1, 2011, at 23 small centres throughout Manitoba; and

* consistent funding for small rural and northern early learning and child-care centres so they don't lose funding if enrolment drops on a seasonal basis such as in farm communities during winter.

This program will apply to centres in rural and northern communities with up to 40 spaces or to a centre that is the only organization providing service in a small community. This funding is now in place and centres will be notified by Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care if they are eligible.