Services and Supports » Kindergarten » Early Childhood Services

Early Childhood Services

Early Childhood Services (ECS) refers to educational programming for children before they enter Grade 1. Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) offers ECS programming in both Kindergarten and Junior Kindergarten. Children entering Kindergarten must be at least 5 years old as of December 31 of that calendar year.KinderSmart
Children with a severe disability or language delay that is moderate or severe may start Junior Kindergarten at age 2 years 8 months. All other children may begin Junior Kindergarten at age 3 years 8 months.
Provincial ECS guidelines:

Junior Kindergarten

PWPSD is committed to providing exceptional early childhood programming within a welcoming and inclusive environment. Our Junior Kindergarten program offers a child-centered, language rich, play-based approach that aims to provide engaging experiences that reflect the developmental needs of all children and builds on their natural curiosity.
PWPSD offers Junior Kindergarten programming in many of our schools. In schools where Junior Kindergarten is not offered, families may enroll their child in a playschool operated by the County of Grande Prairie or in a private playschool in their community. Programming can take place up to four half-days each week, and will usually follow the school year calendar as closely as possible. Junior Kindergarten programming is not provincially funded, therefore there are fees associated, which may vary from site-to-site. Please contact your school for more information.


All PWPSD elementary schools offer a provincially funded Kindergarten program. Kindergarten is a wonderful way for your child to discover what school is like and to have fun while learning new things. In this exciting new community, children's natural curiosity and eagerness to learn are structured through organized activities and purposeful play. Your child will interact, imagine, experiment, and explore to add to their knowledge, learn new skills, and practice what they've learned.
Kindergarten programming follows an Alberta provincial curriculum and provincially mandated hours. Most programs offer alternating full-day Kindergarten. Click here for more information about Kindergarten.
Provincial resources:


KinderSmart is a new early learning program offered at Harry Balfour School and Robert W. Zahara School that provides a learning experience in addition to the regular Kindergarten program. KinderSmart is offered oppositeKinderSmart your child's regular Kindergarten programming hours, and extends your child's Kindergarten experience through play-based learning experiences.
KinderSmart programming provides your child with peer-based play as they continue developing and growing their knowledge, social skills, and emotional regulation. A KinderSmart Instructor and Educational Assistant facilitate the KinderSmart portion of the program. KinderSmart programming focuses on overall well-being, learning through play, communication, and literacy and numeracy skills in a caring, supporting environment.
As KinderSmart is not provincially funded, schools offering this program charge a fee. Please contact your school for more information.
Kindergarten Teacher: Early Learning Instructor:
Valid Alberta Teaching Certificate Valid Early Childhood Certificate/Experience
  • Plans, develops, and teaches whole group, small group, and individual instruction to target learning expectations
  • Creates opportunities for students to accomplish new learnings through social interactions and co-operation with others
  • Provides meaningful learning opportunities to all students
  • Adapts and modifies instructional strategies to help meet the learning needs of all students
  • Engages in ongoing assessment and evaluation of a child's learning and reports progress to parents
  • Designs and implements Individual Program Plans to support students with special needs
  • May receive services from members of the PWPSD Peace Collaborative Services team (Speech, Occupational Therapy, and/or Psychology)
  • Assesses students using the Early Years Evaluation (EYE-TA)
  • Regularly communicates academic and social emotional learning with parents
  • Creates projects and interests-based centres by following the curiosity and imagination of the child
  • Fosters positive relationships and social communication
  • Provides authentic opportunities for problem-solving, risk-taking, and critical thinking that complements the Kindergarten program
  • Allows for creative expression through fine arts experiences - drama, music and art, centre play, and free play
  • Enhances communication skills
  • Demonstrates a clear understanding of child development
  • Is collaborative with individual student teams, as well as with Kindergarten teachers and support staff
  • My participate in shared communication with parents informally in collaboration with the Kindergarten teacher
  • Flexible based on students needs and interests
  • Develop early language, literacy, numeracy, and motor skills
  • Learn to share, co-operate, be responsible, problem-solve, self-express, and make decisions
  • Participate in group and individual classroom activities
  • Develop positive attitudes toward learning
  • Develop a sense of confidence and self-esteem
  • Learn in a stimulating environment through activities that are strength-based, child-centered, play-based, and are developmentally appropriate for students
  • Be engaged in learning activities that help develop social skills both individually and in a group setting
"Play is not frivolous; it is brain building."
- American Academy of Pediatrics

Program Unit Funding

What is Program Unit Funding (PUF)?
PUF is support for children who require additional services beyond those offered in a regular program. This may include support for:
  • Speech and language delays
  • Vision and hearing impairment
  • Severe behavioural or emotional difficulties
  • Physical delays or impairments
  • Medical conditions
  • Significant developmental delays
PUF is provided for eligible children with severe disabilities between the ages of 2 years 8 months and 4 years 8 months by September 1 of the year they are attending. To receive PUF programming, an Individualized Early Learning Plan must be developed for the child each year. Children receive PUF supports within the school environment from their school-based learning team.

The additional funding for PUF is provided to approved ECS operators by Alberta Education. Funding support may be available for a maximum of three consecutive years for each child.
Your child's eligibility will be based on documentation, which supports that your child has been assessed and diagnosed with a severe or moderate delay/disability by a qualified professional. Funding supports may also be available if your child is identified with a mild communication delay/disorder.
For more information, please contact Karen Chrenek, District Principal,
(780) 831-3061.

Parent/School Partnership

A child's education is a partnership between the major caregivers in the child's life. We ensure that this partnership is strong, and effective communication is fostered when everyone has a voice that is respected and heard. Opportunities, such as volunteering in the classroom, helping supply snacks and supplies if needed, and communicating with your child before and after school about their day will strengthen that partnership as well.


Students as young as 4 years of age may be eligible for transportation. Please contact the PWPSD Transportation office at (780) 532-7734 to confirm eligibility.


New Student Registration
My Health Alberta - Speech and Language Development
Alberta Health Services Early Childhood general contact and service information, as well as links to activity calendar resources, and parenting tips to encourage developmental skills in their children from birth to 5 years of age can be found here.