HALIFAX – Nova Scotia's youngest students will continue to receive the support and attention they need in school as the province keeps class sizes low.
Class sizes in grades 4 through 6 will be capped at 25, Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Ramona Jennex announced Friday.
"Keeping class sizes low continues to be important to parents, teachers, and students. That's why we're following through on our commitment through Kids and Learning First to extend the class-size cap to more grades," said Jennex. "Now that we have a balanced budget, the province is able to invest even more in the initiatives that are most important to families, like education."
School boards must phase in the class-size cap in grades 4 to 6 over the next three years, beginning with Grade 4 classes in 2014-15. The province will invest $6.5 million over three years to support the cap by hiring as many as 100 new teachers.
"Parents know what a tremendous difference it makes to their children when teachers are able to give them more time and attention in the classroom," said Jennex. "Our class sizes are already at the lowest levels they have been in a generation, and government is going to keep them that way."
A class-size maximum of 25 was established in 2012-13 for grades primary to 3 and resulted in the hiring of more than 70 teachers.
"I applaud the province for extending the class cap guidelines to Grade 6," said Gin Yee, chairman of the Halifax Regional School Board. "I have heard from parents, guardians and teachers who have told me smaller class sizes provide for better learning and teaching opportunities, especially in the younger grades."
Information collected from the boards indicates that the average class size in grades Primary to 6 across the province last school year ranged from 20-23 students, about the same as 2011-12.
Kids and Learning First includes a number of initiatives to help students in younger grades. More young students are getting early literacy help under Succeeding in Reading and a revised math curriculum for all elementary grades will give students more time to learn the basics and build a strong math foundation for future years.