Rakhi Pancholi announces plan to create opportunity for children and their families

Albertans know that the story of Alberta is a story of opportunity. And there’s nothing more important than the opportunities we give our kids.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2024

EDMONTON — Rakhi Pancholi announced a bold platform for public education that includes implementing full-day kindergarten, enhanced support for students with disabilities, and expanded school nutrition programs.

“Albertans know that the story of Alberta is a story of opportunity. And there’s nothing more important than the opportunities we give our kids,” said Pancholi. “There is a lot of work to do to repair the real damage done to our public education system over the last 5 years. We can and should do more than just repair the damage – let’s make choices that create opportunity for all Albertan children.”

Pancholi’s vision to create opportunities for Albertan children and their families includes:

  • Implementing full-day kindergarten
  • Supporting students with disabilities through improved standards for education and enhancing training for educators to support inclusive learning
  • Expanding school nutrition programs

Full-Day Kindergarten

“Full-day kindergarten has the opportunity to significantly improve a child’s overall health, well-being, and academic potential,” said Pancholi. “We know the early years are the most important in any child’s development, so let’s make sure we’re giving them the best possible start in life.”

Currently, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland all offer full-day kindergarten, leaving Nunavut, Alberta, and Saskatchewan without such a program.

Supporting Students with Disabilities

“Students with disabilities deserve to have the support they need to fully participate and succeed in their classes,” said Pancholi. “I’ve spent countless hours with families, hearing about the heartbreaking impact that a lack of support has on their kids. We need to improve our educational standards and enhance training for educators in order to provide meaningful and inclusive learning environments.”

Pancholi emphasized that improving inclusive education could not happen without the appropriate funding and support that parents have tirelessly been advocating for.

Expanding School Nutrition Programs

The Government of Alberta’s existing school nutrition program only serves a small percentage of public schools across the province. Participating schools have seen an increase in the number of students accessing the program, driven by the affordability crisis and skyrocketing cost of basic necessities like housing, groceries, and utilities. 

“There is ample research that shows a direct relationship between being well-nourished and a student’s social and emotional well-being, their behaviour and overall health,” said Pancholi. “We cannot continue letting kids go hungry knowing they will bear the impact across their entire lifetime.

“There is no better reflection of the hope and optimism of our province than our kids. These pillars will help us set them up for success and realize their full potential.”

Rakhi Pancholi, in a red blazer and white shirt, is engaged in conversation with another person whose back is to the camera, in a brightly lit room that is a children's play area. The room is equipped with toys neatly arranged on shelves, a small table with chairs, and colourful floor mats. In the background, another woman is seen standing near a 'Library Corner' sign, surrounded by bookshelves and children's artwork on the walls.

Pancholi’s commitment also includes restoring the foundations of public education by:

  • Building more schools
  • Adequately funding every single Alberta student
  • Hiring more teachers, EAs and mental health support staff
  • Treating our educators with respect

For additional information, please refer to the following resources:

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Rakhi will be available for interviews upon request.

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