Early Childhood Development (ECD)

Manitoba's Ongoing Commitment to Early Childhood Development

Manitoba's children deserve the best possible start in life. Recent research shows that children's early years are an important time in brain development and a key factor in determining success later in life.

The Government of Manitoba has an ongoing commitment to support early childhood development.


Pregnancy, Birth and Infancy

Healthy Baby
Launched in July 2001, the Healthy Baby Program supports mothers during pregnancy and the early years through financial assistance and nutrition education. The Healthy Baby Manitoba Prenatal Benefit assists income eligible pregnant women to meet their extra nutritional needs during pregnancy. Additional resources have been invested to expand the network of Healthy Baby Community Support Programs to provide practical information related to prenatal development, the benefits of breastfeeding and strategies to support the healthy physical, cognitive and emotional development of children.

Families First
Families First offers home visiting supports to eligible families with children, from pregnancy to school entry. Delivered across the province by community public health, home visitors support families in building a strong relationship with their child and family while sharing information and suggesting activities to ensure children’s physical health and safety; support parenting and secure attachment; promote healthy growth, development and learning; and build connections to community resources.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Strategy 
helps with the prevention of alcohol use during pregnancy and intervention, care and support of individuals living with FASD.



Parenting and Family Supports

Manitoba Families - Children's Programs
Children’s Disability Services (formerly known as the Children’s Special Services Program) provides services and supports to birth, adoptive or extended families raising children with developmental and/or physical disabilities. The Children with Disabilities Program supports licensed child care facilities and homes to include children with disabilities.

Manitoba's Poverty Reduction Strategy
Manitoba’s poverty reduction and social inclusion strategy.

Manitoba Health - Early Childhood Health Promotion
Manitoba Health supports regional healthy authorities and community partners in providing maternal health, prenatal, newborn and early childhood services. Early childhood health promotion efforts emphasize prenatal and infant nutrition, physical activity promotion and injury prevention.



Early Childhood Development, Learning and Care

Manitoba Families - Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care
Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care oversees the operation of licensed child care facilities in the province. It ensures high quality early learning and child care for children aged 3 months to 12 years.

Manitoba Education - Early Childhood & Development Unit

Manitoba Education - Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI)
The ECDI of Manitoba Education assists school divisions in providing pre-school services such as family literacy, child development and health information for parents, and resources for use by and with children to prepare them for successful school entry. Additional resources (the EDI Supplement) have been committed through the ECDI to ensure children are ready to start school.


Community Supports

Parent Child Coalitions
Parent Child Coalitions bring together community strengths and resources within a geographic boundary or community, through  partnerships with a variety of child, family and community programs and sectors. This approach promotes and supports community-based programs and activities for children and families, with a focus on the early years. Parent child coalitions support new and existing activities that reflect each community’s diversity and unique needs. Priority areas for coalition programming include positive parenting, nutrition and physical health, literacy and learning and community capacity.


Other ECD Initiatives

In addition to the core ECD programs listed above, Manitoba provides financial assistance to a number of community organizations supporting ECD activities.

Roots of Empathy
An evidence-based, bilingual, universal classroom based program for students from kindergarten to Grade 8 which focuses on building capacity of the next generation for caring and compassionate citizenship and parenting.

Seeds of Empathy
Created by Mary Gordon, Seeds of Empathy is an adaptation of her Roots of Empathy program. Seeds of Empathy is designed for younger children, ages three to five years old in early childhood settings and aims to foster social and emotional competence and early literacy skills.

PAX Pilot
PAX is a set of tools and strategies used by teachers and students that creates conditions for active teaching and lifelong learning. PAX results in immediate and long-term engaged learning. Longitudinal studies have shown that students who participate in PAX in Grade One do better in, and are more likely to graduate from school, need fewer special education services, have better mental health (including less suicidal thoughts/attempts), fewer smoking, alcohol and drug addictions, and are less involved in crime, into their adult years. The return on investment is $84.63 in benefits for every $1 invested in PAX.