School supplies

The EXCEL program is a recreation-based, fee-for-service before and after school program run by Halifax Regional Centre for Education. Currently offered in 72 elementary schools, EXCEL is before- and after-school care for elementary-aged children. At each school site where EXCEL is offered, the dedicated and qualified staffing teams plan weekly games and activities that suit the needs and interests of the registered students. These individual plans are framed around EXCEL’s overall philosophy which is focused on physical activity and positive social interaction in a safe and fun environment. 
EXCEL programs differ from site to site due to factors like program size and operating space, but programming objectives are consistent. Since EXCEL began more than 25 years ago, staff have continually enhanced the program based on experiences and feedback. Today, with more than 4,000 participating students, EXCEL is one of the largest programs of its kind in the Maritimes, providing engaging and inclusive games and activities for program participants. 

Highlights of the EXCEL program include: 

  • Structured and unstructured activities each afternoon. 
  • A minimum of 45 minutes of structured physical activity every day. 
  • Outdoor physically active play opportunities each day, weather permitting. 
  • Opportunities for individual choice in programming each day. 
  • Special guest presenters and external programmers. 
  • Playground Activity Leaders in Schools (PALS) for participants in Grades 4-6. 
  • HRQ/Gym (Homework/Reading/Quiet Time/Gym) time each afternoon from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. enabling those who wish to complete homework the opportunity to do so. 
  • EXCEL is a High Five registered organization. 

To effectively oversee the operations of the EXCEL program, our 72 sites are divided into four units. 

An Administrator, Registrar and Recreation Programmer have been assigned to support the EXCEL program in each unit. They provide support for registration and billing, human resource management, program monitoring and evaluation and staff development. 

The on-site staff that provide before- and after-school programming and care for your children are required to have education and/or experience in a group childcare or recreation setting. Many of our staff have several years of experience to offer. 

CPR/First Aid training and re-certification courses are offered by the EXCEL program as needed. All staff are on file with the Child Abuse Registry and since January 1, 2003 have required a criminal background check and a vulnerable sector check.

Formal staff evaluations are conducted annually for all staff. You may be contacted by a Recreation Programmer, Manager or Coordinator for input in assessing staff performance as a part of the evaluation process. 

EXCEL office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday to Friday. Payments cannot be accepted by program staff at individual schools. All payments must be made online through the EZChildTrack Parent Portal, or by calling, mailing or visiting the EXCEL office at 25 Alfred Street, Dartmouth, NS, B3A 4E8, 902-464-2000 ext. 2787. 

EXCEL Administrative Staff 

Roxanne Manning 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2495 

Kimberly Lozon 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2787 

Assistant Registrar 
Gail Hartling 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2236 

Assistant Registrar - Client Service 
Wendy Terry 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2491 

Manager (Units 1 and 2) 
Kate MacDonald 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2496 

Manager (Units 3 and 4) 
Jeff Turple 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 8498 

Recreation Programmer (Unit #1) 
Laura McKinley 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2014 

Administrator (Unit #1) 
Lori Fougere 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2492 

Recreation Programmer (Unit #2) 
Jocelyn MacDonald 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2493 

Administrator (Unit #2) 
Quentina Parsons 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2494 

Recreation Programmer (Unit #3) 
Heather Edgett 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2497 

Administrator (Unit #3) 
Amy Lilly 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2013

Recreation Programmer (Unit #4) 
Emily Pelham
(902) 464-2000 ext. 2498 

Administrator (Unit #4) 
Tracey Penney 
(902) 464-2000 ext. 5596 

View the 2024-25 EXCEL fee schedule here.

Monthly tuition for the EXCEL program is processed on the 20th of each month, beginning August 20, for 10 consecutive months. Options for payment include: Visa or MasterCard, Visa Debit or MasterCard Debit, post-dated cheques, cash or money order. If paying monthly tuition fees online, families can set up auto payment  through the EZChildTrack Parent Portal

Monthly fees are calculated by multiplying the applicable daily rate by the number of instructional days each month, less all professional learning days, assessment and evaluation days, scheduled breaks (i.e., holiday break and March Break), the last day of school in June and holidays. There is no refund for non-attendance. 

Please make sure that the person holding the account and the child's name are listed on all correspondence. A fee of $18.50 will be charged for payments that are returned with insufficient funds or declined payment card transactions. Please make certain that payment card information provided at registration will be valid at the time of transaction each month. Parents/guardians are responsible to update new expiry dates or payment card numbers in the parent portal. Repeated charges may result in the discontinuation of EXCEL services. For account information, please contact the Registrar at 902-464-2000, ext. 2787 or e-mail excelregistrar@hrce.ca or excel@hrce.ca

Withdraw from EXCEL or program changes

EXCEL requires two-weeks notice, not sooner than the child(ren)'s scheduled start date, to withdraw your child from any program (i.e., Before and/or After). You will be billed for the days within this two-week period where sufficient notice was not provided. Please submit a Change of Enrollment Request through EZChildTrack Parent Portal or contact the EXCEL Registrar or Assistant Registrar to give notice of the effective date of the withdrawal. They will forward the withdrawal information to our school program staff. The Registrar or Assistant Registrar will discuss with the account holder any refunds owing or fees outstanding to close out the account. 
Exceptions to the two-week notice will be considered for extenuating circumstances such as family illness or loss of employment. Proof of such circumstances may be required for refunds. Please discuss any extenuating circumstances with the EXCEL Registrar. 

Income tax receipts 

Income tax receipts are issued by the end of February in the name of the Primary Account Holder. They can be accessed by signing into the EZChildTrack Parent Portal

  • In the Payments and Statements section of the Home Page, click on the View Statement button. 
  • From the Statements page, you can print tax statements for the last completed financial year. To generate these tax statements, click on the Print button. 

Accounts in arrears 

All transactions are processed on the 20th of each month preceding the month of service. Consistent payments in arrears may result in the discontinuation of EXCEL services and limit any future registration in the EXCEL program. If necessary, further action and collection efforts will be taken for recovery of the amount owed. 

Late fees

Our EXCEL after school program ends at 6:00 p.m. each day and does not offer extended hours. Parents/guardians are required to pick up their children no later than 6:00 p.m. If a child(ren) cannot, for whatever reason, be picked up within the allotted program time, the following procedures will be followed:  

  • There will be a late pickup charge of $1 per minute for the first 15 minutes; and $2 per minute thereafter;
  • When notice of a late pick up is received, the applicable fees will be billed to your account. If you are set up for autopay, your payment will be processed along with your regular monthly payment on the next payment due date. Otherwise, payment of late pickup fees must be made on or before the next payment due date to avoid the late payment fee of $18.50. This can be done by signing into your account on the EZChildTrack Parent Portal at or by calling/visiting the EXCEL office. If a late pickup occurs after the final payment due date of the school year (i.e. May 20th), please sign into your account on the Parent Portal or call/visit the EXCEL office as soon as possible to make payment. 
  • If late pickup occurs regularly, staff will discuss with the parent/guardian whether EXCEL hours meet the family's needs. More than five incidents of late pickup may result in the discontinuation of services. 

For a list of 2024-2025 EXCEL sites, program options and times, click here.

To view the 2024-2025 EXCEL parent handbook, click here.

To ensure the safety and security of the child(ren) still in attendance following the 6 p.m. program end time, two leaders must remain on site until such time as an authorized individual arrives for pickup.  
We would ask parents/guardians to carry the EXCEL program phone number with them at all times so that when you are running late you can communicate with staff your expected delay in arrival. 
Parents/guardians are reminded to allow sufficient travel time during times of inclement weather to ensure your arrival prior to 6 p.m. Parents/guardians should consider making arrangements to have a neighbour, friend, or relative available to pick up your child(ren) should road/storm delays be encountered.  

EXCEL does not operate on Professional Learning and Assessment and Evaluation days. Parents will be responsible for finding alternate program services for these days. 

The EXCEL program uses EZChildTrack, a Childcare Management Software as a Service (SaaS), to support our registration and payment process. EZChildTrack Parent Portal offers a secure, convenient, web-based system on which clients can register their child(ren) online for the EXCEL program. 

Returning, waitlisted, and new families interested in enrolling their child(ren) in the EXCEL program are required to submit an application for each new school year. Enrolment and waitlists do not carry over from one year to the next. Once your application has been processed, an Enrolment Approval/Waitlist email will be sent to you through EZChildTrack to inform you of your child(ren)'s enrolment status. Please note that students may not begin attending the program until written confirmation of acceptance has been received. 

2024-2025 EXCEL Registration is divided into two periods:

(1) Early Registration for families with a child(ren) enrolled in the 2023-24 EXCEL Program by April 26, 2024 and new siblings; and

(2) General Registration for families who do not have a child(ren) currently enrolled in the 2023-24 EXCEL Program.

EXCEL 2024-25 registration dates are as follows:

Unit #1April 29th (8am) to April 30th (7:59am)May 13th at 8am to May 14th at 7:59am
Unit #2April 30th (8am) to May 1st (7:59am)May 14th at 8am to May 15th at 7:59am
Unit #3May 1st (8am) to May 2nd (7:59am)May 15th at 8am to May 16th at 7:59am
Unit #4May 2nd (8am) to May 3rd (7:59am)May 16th at 8am to May 17th at 7:59am
All UnitsMay 3rd (8am - 4pm) & May 6th (8:00am) to May 10th (4pm)May 17th at 8am onward


EXCEL Programs are divided into four units of schools. Please review the 2024-25 EXCEL Sites, Program Options and Times tab to ensure that you register on the correct day for your school.

For detailed registration instructions, click here.

At the time of registration, parents are required to identify any needs that their child may have that could impact their active participation in the program. Parents will be contacted by a member of the EXCEL management team for a pre-assessment conversation to discuss the specific supports that may be required. If it is determined that an additional staff person is the level of support needed to facilitate a child's meaningful participation in the program, the staffing will be adjusted to best meet the needs of the child.  

The EXCEL program was created in the interest of providing an option to families, when and where opportunities are available. Offering such a service however, is not a mandate of the HRCE. 

The interest of families to participate in EXCEL continues to grow each year. EXCEL staff continually work with schools to identify available and suitable program space at each site. Such space is not always available as the necessary work in schools does not end with the dismissal bell. Teachers continue important work in their classrooms at the end of each day, and extra-curricular activities and special events are regularly held in gymnasiums, libraries, and multi-purpose rooms. EXCEL utilizes space that does not conflict with these important and required functions. The educational needs of the schools always have priority. 

Factors including availability of suitable program space; availability of staff to support participants; the safety of students; and EXCEL’s ability to provide a quality experience for participants are considered when establishing program capacities. When and where demand exceeds capacities for an EXCEL program, waitlists are formed. These lists are used to understand demand and to generate conversations that explore the possibility of program growth. With the interest of serving families within our school communities, the EXCEL office operates 12 months a year to ensure that waitlisted families are contacted in a timely manner regarding available opportunities for participation. 

Parents are required to find an alternate caregiver when their child is sick. If your child is too sick to attend school, then they are too sick to attend EXCEL. If your child is absent for five consecutive program days or more due to illness, a refund may be issued. Please contact the EXCEL office to discuss.

If a child has an accident while attending EXCEL, the staff will assess the situation and act according to the following procedures: 

  • If a serious accident occurs which might require medical attention, EXCEL staff will contact you immediately for instructions.
  • If you are unavailable, EXCEL staff will call your emergency contact. 
  • If neither contact is available, staff will call for emergency transport as EXCEL staff may not transport any child in their personal vehicle. 

In the event of an accident that may be life threatening or requires immediate attention, staff will first call for emergency assistance and then inform the parent. EXCEL staff are still responsible for all children in the program and may not be able to go with your child in an ambulance but will make every effort to contact someone to accompany your child. There are always EXCEL staff on site who are trained in emergency first aid and CPR and will administer treatment as required. 

Parents/guardians are responsible to provide a snack each day for their child(ren)'s consumption during our scheduled daily nutrition break. To ensure that children stay hydrated during the busy and active program day, they are encouraged to bring a water bottle to EXCEL.  

To ensure a safe, secure and healthy school environment for all students, the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development has established a Provincial School Code of Conduct. In an effort to provide consistency in the lives of students, EXCEL staff support and follow the Provincial School Code of Conduct at each site, which will be communicated to you by the school.

When promoting a nurturing, respectful, and responsive environment for our participants, a range of proactive strategies are implemented within the EXCEL program to promote positive behaviour. When challenging behaviour arises, factors including the student’s age/developmental needs as well as the frequency, severity, and intensity of the behaviour will be considered when determining consequences. 

Communication between EXCEL staff and parents is essential to identify solutions to address persistent/escalating challenging behaviour. EXCEL staff believe in positive behaviour support and individualism; therefore, each child will be treated on an individual basis. Confidentiality will be maintained in all situations. 

As a last resort, when all avenues have been deemed exhausted by the program manager, a child may be withdrawn from EXCEL. 

If you become concerned with any aspect of the EXCEL program, EXCEL staff will be glad to discuss it with you. If you have a program concern, we encourage you to first discuss it with on-site staff. If you are not satisfied, you may address your concerns to the Recreation Programmer and then to the Manager or Coordinator. We are committed to ensuring that EXCEL staff will deal with your concerns professionally, courteously and diligently. 

Withdrawal from EXCEL 

Two-weeks notice is required to withdraw your child from the program and for program changes. You will be billed for the days within this two-week period where sufficient notice was not provided. Please contact the Registrar or Assistant Registrar to give notice of the effective date of your withdrawal. 
Regretfully EXCEL cannot hold spaces for extended periods of time due to the demand for our program. Should you require an extended leave period, you would be required to officially withdraw and reapply for enrolment later.