Nova Scotia Overview

Early Childhood Education

What programs are available for children in their early years?

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Education & Early Childhood Development (EECD) is working to build an integrated early years system throughout the province that will provide more accessible and extensive support for young children and their families.

Early Years Centres

The Early Years Branch at EECD partners with regional centres, communities and families to create Early Years Centres across the province.  The Early Years Centre model includes three core services:

  • a play-based early learning program for children in the year before entering school
  • family supports and resources
  • regulated child care responsive to family needs

Early Years Centres are located in or near schools and are designed to fit the needs of the community where they are located. The centre provides a space to bring together programs and services delivered to families of young children from prenatal to school entry.  Family supports and resources might include parenting supports, health services and early identification and intervention programs.  Visit here for more information on these centres. (Read More 1)

Pre-primary Program

Nova Scotia families can access free, universal pre-primary education for four-year-olds. The Pre-Primary Program is a child-centered, play based program. This program helps to transition young children into elementary school, and identify those who will need additional supports once they begin school. It is a voluntary program.  Families can choose whether they want to register their children.  It is open to all children who have reached the age of four years on or before December 31 of the year they enroll.  Children can attend the program only for one year.  Visit here to view the fact sheet on this program. (Read More 2)

Visit here for more information on this program. (Read More 3)

Some of the programs and resources offered by the Early Years Branch are:

  • child care directory
  • guide to finding child care
  • child care subsidy
  • family home day care program
  • supported child care
  • early childhood development intervention services

Visit here for more information on these services. (Read More 4)

Child Care

In Nova Scotia, licensed child care options include child care centres and approved family home day care.

Licensed Care Centres - child care centres can be licensed to care for children from birth to age 12.  To be licensed, child care centres must comply with the Day Care Act and Regulations, and are inspected and monitored regularly.

Approved Family Home Day Care (FHDC) - family home day care is child care offered in someone’s home under the supervision of a licensed family home day care agency.  Agencies are licensed to approve, manage and monitor the care provided by care providers in their own homes.

Unlicensed Care - in Nova Scotia, individuals can look after up to six children of any age, or eight school-aged children without a license.  Unlicensed child care arrangements are made privately between the parents and the provider.

Visit here for more information on child care. (Read More 5)


Look at the provincial standards for licensed child care if you have an interest in pursuing a career as an Early Childhood Educator.

Consultation reports on EECD website.

Visit here to view reports on consultations and improvements to child care. (Read More 6)

Sample Consultation Report from EECD

Affordable, Quality Child Care: A Great Place to Grow!

Government will make child care more affordable for families while improving wages for early childhood educators.

Read the Release / Communiqué de presse

Download the PDF / Télécharger le pdf

Factsheet / Fiches d'information

  • More Reading

    Read More 1: Early Years Centres

    Education and Early Childhood Development Webpage on Early Years Centres

  • More Reading

    Read More 2: Fact Sheet

    Pre Primary Program Fact Sheet

  • More Reading

    Read More 3: Pre-Primary Program

    Education and Early Childhood Development Pre-Primary Program Webpage

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    Read More 4: Information for Families

    Education and Early Childhood DevelopmentInformation for Families Webpage

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    Read More 5: Finding Child Care

    Education and Early Childhood Development Finding Child Care Webpage

  • More Reading

    Read More 6: Early Years Branch

    Education and Early Childhood Development Early Years Branch Webpage