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Provincial Pre-Primary Program

The Provincial Pre-Primary Program is a child-centered, play-based program for children the year before they start Grade Primary. Pre-Primary is about developing life readiness skills through exploration, curiosity, and play! The universal play based program is available to families in every HRCE community. It supports each child’s overall development and lays the foundation for school success and lifelong learning.

Pre-Primary builds each child’s social and emotional confidence to support a successful transition to Primary. Pre-Primary is a voluntary early learning opportunity: children do not have to attend before starting Grade Primary. It's also flexible to your family's needs and children can attend full or part time. Hours for the program are the same as the school day, which is approximately six hours.

Pre-Primary offers an environment that is inclusive and respectful of diversity, where the child and family are at the centre.

Eligibility criteria 

  • In order to be eligible to attend Pre-Primary your child must be 4-years-old by December 31 in the year they start Pre-Primary.
  • Your family must live within the English boundary of the school that offers this program. 
  • If you are unsure whether you live within the boundaries of a school offering the program, verify your neighbourhood school.
  • Pre-Primary does not have waiting lists. All families who live in the English boundary of the school serving the area (neighbourhood) in which they reside will have a space in that school's Pre-Primary program.
  • Most programs are offered in the neighborhood elementary school, except for the following exceptions:
Upper Musquodoboit Offered at
Musquodoboit Valley Education Centre
Register at
Musquodoboit Valley Education Centre
LeMarchant St. Thomas Offered at
Sir Charles Tupper Elementary
Register at
Sir Charles Tupper Elementary
Saint Mary’s Elementary  Offered at 
Inglis Street Elementary
Register at 
Inglis Street Elementary
Burton Ettinger Elementary 
Offered at
Fairview Heights Elementary (Annex) 
Register at
Fairview Heights Elementary (Annex)
Rockingham Elementary
Offered at
Grosvenor-Wentworth Park Elementary
Register at
Grosvenor-Wentworth Park Elementary
  • Some schools offer the program in an off-site location. These schools are:
Dartmouth South Academy Offered at
Southdale North Woodside
Register at
Dartmouth South Academy
Kingswood Elementary Offered at
117 Kearney Lake Rd.
Register at
Kingswood Elementary
Please note, these exceptions are subject to change year over year.
For more information about Pre-Primary registration, please contact our Parent Navigators.

Pre-Primary Program Resources

What to expect

Before the first day of school, you will receive a phone call from the Lead Early Childhood Educator at your child’s Pre-Primary program to provide you with all necessary information about the Pre-Primary program.

In the meantime, please see some helpful information:

  • Morning and afternoon snack: Snacks will be provided twice per day in our Pre-Primary Program; we will serve a fruit and/or vegetable with every snack plus another food group. Please let the Lead Early Childhood Educator know if your child has any diet restrictions.
  • Lunch: Please provide a lunch for your child daily. We will have lunch around noon in a family-style dining atmosphere. If you plan on sending a frozen meal we ask that you preheat this at home and place into a thermos. Unfortunately, we do not have a microwave in the Pre-Primary program environment.
  • Extra Clothing: Your children will be experiencing lots of fun/messy play while in our program. Please ensure you have minimally one full change of clothes. Ensure your child is prepared for outdoor weather at all times as we go outside twice daily. If we do not have enough gear to change a child we will call home/work to ask for clothes to be brought to school or to pick up the child.
  • All other supplies and materials are provided by the Pre-Primary program. We do not require families to purchase materials.
  • We welcome you to visit our HRCE Pre-Primary Program website for more information about the Pre-Primary experience and building your child’s life readiness through play, including:
  • What is Pre-Primary?
  • What can you expect?
  • Specialized Supports
  • What can I do to help my child grow?
  • How can we support you?   

Pre-Primary Frequently Asked Questions

Before and After School Programming

EXCEL Program

The EXCEL program is a fee-for-service recreational program run by the HRCE. EXCEL is an option to parents/guardians who are seeking before and after school care for their elementary-aged children. Children enrolled in the Pre-Primary are eligible to register for EXCEL if their school offers the program and Pre-Primary is located on site at the school.

To learn more, click here.

Nova Scotia Before and After Program

The Nova Scotia Before and After Program (NS-BAP) is is a fee-based recreation program for children.

The schools offering BAP, along with service providers, are as follows:

  • Bell Park Academic Centre (Boys and Girls Club of Preston)
  • Central Spryfield (YWCA of Halifax)
  • Duc d'Anville (YMCA of Greater Halifax)
  • Inglis Street (YMCA of Greater Halifax)
  • Rockingstone Heights School (YWCA of Halifax)
  • Shatford Memorial (EXCEL)
  • St. Catherine's (YMCA of Greater Halifax)
  • South Woodside (EXCEL)
  • Tallahassee Community School (Tallahassee Early Learning Centre)

To register for NS-BAP, please contact the service provider offering the program at your child’s school listed here. For more information, click here.