Strategic Growth Initiative Fund: Four operators have received a total $350,000 to expand an existing location or open a new centre. This means a total 127 new child care spaces in Cape Breton, Cumberland and Victoria counties. The operators also have access to an additional $300,000 to help with annual operating costs Space Conversion Grants: 21 centres have received between $10,000 and more than $260,000, for a total $1.4 million in one-time funding to convert existing space to support the changing child care needs of their communities. The centres will create spaces for 276 children Program Enhancement Grant: 108 non-profit child care centres received between $500 and $50,000, for a total $2.7 million in one-time funding to help with minor repairs and renovations, replacing equipment, or purchasing new materials to support high-quality, inclusive early learning programming Children and families across the province will have more options and improved access to child care with a $4.4 million investment. The money will help create 403 new spaces across the province and provide 108 non-profit child care centres with opportunities to expand or improve their programs. “These investments are helping us give our children the best start in life,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “We know that in some communities, access to regulated child care is limited. These new spaces will help more families especially in communities where regulated child care is difficult to access.” These investments are part of a three-year, $35 million early learning and child care agreement with the federal government that was signed in January 2018. “We know that kids with access to early learning do better at school and in life. That’s why the earlier we invest in children, the bigger the payoff,” said Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “Today’s announcement will give more children in Nova Scotia access to quality learning and child care so they can have the best start in life and have a fair chance to succeed.” Details of the $4.4 million investment: Child care centres applied for these funding grants in March. “St. Joseph’s Children’s Centre is proud to be celebrating our 50th year of providing quality early learning and care for children and families in HRM,” said Leah Rigby, chairperson, board of directors for St. Joseph’s. “Funding announcements such as this are an integral piece in supporting and enhancing the learning environment and materials for children, providing opportunities for children to be excited about trying new things and becoming independent learners.” For a detailed investment breakdown, visit https://www.ednet.ns.ca/earlyyears/strategicgrowth.shtml .