Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

October 14, 2005 13:57 ET

The Government of Canada Ensuring Rural Children Get a Good Start

MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 14, 2005) - The Government of Canada is supporting a new approach to giving rural children the best possible start in life. The Honourable Claudette Bradshaw, Minister of State (Human Resources Development) on behalf of the Government of Canada announced that $466,942 will be invested in Les Petits Crayons model, developed by the Association francophone des parents du Nouveau-Brunswick in different communities.

The Rural Secretariat, through the Models for Rural Development and Community Capacity Building Program, has provided $313,000 in funding over the next three years for Les Petits Crayons model. The Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, through the National Literacy Secretariat, has partnered with the Rural Secretariat by contributing $153,942 to this literacy project.

"Les Petits Crayons has been a huge success here in New Brunswick," said Minister Bradshaw. "I see great opportunity for young people and their parents in using this approach in other rural communities from coast to coast.

"Experts on early childhood agree, early development and social activities stimulate knowledge, learning and good behaviour in pre-school children," explained Mr. Easter. "However, children in rural areas don't always have everyday opportunities to socialize and learn."

Les Petits Crayons is a family literacy club for both parents and pre-school children in rural communities. It addresses the need for early childhood development and also works on improving parenting skills and self-confidence. Every week, children and parents gather at a location that quickly takes on the appearance of a play group, with crafts, games and reading. With the help of resource people, parents learn to lead and organize the sessions. After a few months, parents can easily organize activities, to the benefit of their little ones. In the long term, parents learn as much as the children do. More than 200 families have participated in this project.

"Our objective is to help both parent and child to develop a sense of community while learning things that they can also apply at home," said Denyse LeBouthillier, President of the Association francophone des parents du Nouveau-Brunswick. "It is also a great way to build new leaders in communities."

Through the funding announced today, Les Petits Crayons model will be applied in Saskatchewan, the Yukon and Kent County in New Brunswick to see if and how it can be used successfully in other rural, remote and northern areas.

The information gained through the Models for Rural Development and Community Capacity Building Program (The Models Program) will contribute to the understanding of what approaches (models) to community development and capacity building work in rural, remote and northern communities. The information we collect will be useful for all levels of government in developing programs, services and policies for rural Canadians. The information will also directly benefit communities.

Funding for this research initiative comes from the five-year, $55-million renewal of the Canadian Rural Partnership, announced in June 2002, and from the National Literacy Secretariat of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The Government of Canada believes that vibrant communities and a sustainable resource base are the foundations for a strong rural Canada and a literate society.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Rural Communications
    Rural Secretariat
    (506) 851-3325 or (506) 381-0501
    Office of the Honourable Claudette Bradshaw
    Yannick Leclair
    (819) 953-8385