Establishing a strong foundation for living and learning in the early years helps to ensure the future success of children. Whether it is a private or public childcare centre, diverse and inclusive early learning and childcare environments provide children with rich learning experiences, where they develop the necessary skills for their future.
NBACL works with Early Learning and Childcare professionals to ensure that all children, including children with an intellectual disability have the right supports for bright futures. We do this through mentoring and support and through the development of early learning and childcare resources. We also provide support to families who want to ensure that their children have the right supports during their earliest milestones.
Supports for Families
A child’s early years are a time of learning and adjustment for many families. Parents who have a young child with an intellectual disability may also be learning about their child and his or her disability, how to access services and supports for their son or daughter and to be a strong voice for their child.
NBACL Early Learning and Childcare staff members work with families to:
- Provide information about government subsidy programs that assist families in accessing quality inclusive early learning and child care;
- Assist with strategies to support their children to transition to early learning and child care environments to transitions to school;
- Connect families to other partner agencies and people in the community who offer various supports (ie. Stan Cassidy Centre; developmental team; Learning Disabilities Association and Autism Support Centres); and
- Offer professional learning and information sessions for families where we provide practical tools, strategies and resources that are geared to support the inclusion of children in early learning and childcare environments and successful transition to school.
Supports for Professionals
Through our Early Childhood Development Program in partnership with Early Childhood Care and Education New Brunswick, NBACL provides supports to early learning and child care staff working in centres where children with disabilities and additional needs are enrolled.
We offer centre staff on-site support consultation as well as resources, professional learning and practical strategies to enhance the full participation of all children.
NBACL provides opportunities for knowledge sharing, relationship building, personal responses, referrals and links to other early childhood organizations.
Projects and Initiatives
Focus on Inclusion
Focus on Inclusion is a 3 year initiative funded by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. The program covers all new school districts in Francophone and Anglophone regions.
Through Focus on Inclusion, NBACL’s Early Learning Inclusion Facilitators provide onsite consultation support in prior to school environments. We do this through modeling, mentoring, coaching for all staff in early learning and childcare centres. NBACL develops and delivers professional learning related to inclusion for staff and families. We also provide resources and referrals for staff and families to supports needed.
Any family who has a child 2 years to 12 years of age and who is eligible for child care placement can request NBACL’s support this program through a referral from any of the following:
- Early Intervention
- The child’s early learning and childcare centre
- The child’s family
- A Provincial early learning and childcare coordinator
- A community partner such as Talk with Me
If a child is referred to NBACL, but does not meet our eligibility, we will refer the family, agency or centre to the correct funding/support program. A family can also be referred through our Family Support program. If a Family Support Facilitator identifies the need for enhanced support for a child, NBACL’s Early Learning Inclusion Facilitator can, at the family’s request and with the permission of the centre, observe the staff interaction with the child at the centre. Support usually follows from that point.
Early Learning Assistant Pilot Project
What It Is
The Early Learning Assistant Pilot Project is a pilot study that considers the impact in elevating enhanced support workers who perform basically one on one support to children with disabilities/additional needs in Early Learning and Child Care Centres to Early Learning Assistants who, instead, support the staff. It researches, through practical use, the move to a more universal model.
It is a pilot study that enhances strategies for supporting early learning and child care employees in their everyday work in order that they can better support children with a disability/additional needs whose families are working or studying to remain in or enter the work force.
Six pilot sites (4English and 2 French) in Edumndston/Grand Falls, Dieppe, Grand Manan, Saint John, Oromocto and Keswick Valley that are currently receiving funding through the Enhanced Support Worker Funding Program, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to support the Early Learning Assistant positions in these six sites.
Growing Together is a joint project with Early Childhood Care and Education New Brunswick (ECCENB) and NBACL. The project is funded by the New Brunswick Early Learning and Child Care Trust Fund.
Growing Together: Building the Capacity of the NB Early Learning and Child Care Sector to Sustain the Ongoing Implementation of Curricula is an exciting three-year project that has the following components:
- Measuring and sustaining quality;
- Building leadership capacity in the sector; and
- Building the overall capacity of ECCENB, including their capacity as champions for inclusion.
Growing Together provides opportunities for the programs that were included in the Opening the Door to Quality Child Care and Development Project to continue as a foundation for leadership and sustainability of curricula, and provides further skill building for the sector. Therefore, there will be opportunity for further professional learning in ECERS and ITERS; D2D; and Each Child Matters, including the SpeciaLink Measurement Tools for Inclusion. There will be opportunities for further communities of practice and mentoring for educators and directors to be developed and implemented regionally. Enhanced relationships for centre staff and families will become a prime focus in Growing Together.
Through this project, NBACL and ECCENB will continue their partnership with other professionals in the community whose work is related to Early Learning and Child Care.
Valuing and respecting each child in each centre of the province takes ongoing work, commitment and resources. NBACL will be working in partnership with ECCENB to support both the organization, and the sector as we continue to develop, enhance and strengthen the awareness, engagement and dialogue needed to well support children and their families in New Brunswick.
NBACL offers many professional development opportunities for early learning and childcare professionals. Explore the Online Learning Modules, Helpful Links and Resources sections on this page to learn more.