Staff hiring continues for Nova Scotia's expansion of pre-primary classes

Nova Scotia's Education Department says progress is being made in setting up a promised expansion of pre-primary classes for four-year-olds by the end of September, although there is still no indication of how many early childhood educators have been hired so far by school boards.

In an email, the department says pre-primary manager positions have been filled at seven of the province's eight school boards, the lone exception being the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional board, which expects to hire within the ``coming weeks.''

The department says it has filled three of four pre-primary consultant positions, which will be located around the province, and says interviews with qualified early childhood educators and the hiring of classroom staff is still underway, although there's no word on how many have been hired to date.

Logistical details for setting up the classrooms are also a work in progress, with the department saying it has ordered items for the play-based curriculum such as sand and water tables, markers, books and appropriately sized tables and chairs, which it expects to distribute within the next two to three weeks.

The department says as of Wednesday, it received 915 completed online pre-registrations from interested families and school boards, and is in the process of contacting families to confirm their spots.

In mid-July, Education Minister Zach Churchill announced a list of 30 new classrooms that would be added to 20 existing classes at 43 locations across the province, but he also warned that staffing would pose a ``challenge'' and said class availability would be contingent on the number of available early childhood educators.