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More than 28 per cent of N.S. children starting out in school are vulnerable: study

HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia study says more than 28 per cent of children starting out in school are considered vulnerable to having some kind of difficulty learning.

Nova Scotia has released results from the 2023 early development instrument report, which examines children’s ability to meet developmental targets across five categories as they first enter the school system. 

Those categories are physical health, cognitive development, communication, emotional maturity and social competence.

The results from the study of nearly 8,000 new students between five and six years old found that 28.5 per cent are considered “vulnerable” in at least one of the categories.

That’s a rise from the 2020 study, in which 25.5 per cent of kindergarten or primary students in Nova Scotia were considered vulnerable.

Jessie-Lee McIsaac, a researcher and professor who studies children and youth, says child poverty and lingering impacts of COVID-19 may be factors in the rise in the number of vulnerable young students.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2023.

The Canadian Press


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