Children First: School Choice Trust today announced plans to bring its tuition assistance grants program for elementary school children to Alberta in January 2006. Children First is the only program of its kind in Canada and Alberta will be the second province in which the program is offered.
Administered by The Fraser Institute and first launched in Ontario in 2003, Children First offers grants to children who come from families in financial need, so that they can attend the independent school of their parents’ choice. This year, the program has enrolled 800 children in Ontario.
Children First has been popular with parents, but controversial with some in Ontario’s public education establishment. The program puts control over children’s education back into the hands of parents, enabling lower-income families to choose the schools that are the best fit for their kids.
The program was established by The Fraser Institute in order to put into practice the growing body of research that shows the benefits of school choice, both for the families who use it and for the education system as a whole.
Complete details of the program for Alberta, including the number of grants to be awarded and the program’s donors, will be announced at a launch event in Calgary on Tuesday, January 31st, 2006. Details on the launch event will be made available in January. href=”http://www.childrenfirstgrants.ca”>www.childrenfirstgrants.ca
“Families with modest financial resources want the best for their children, but often cannot afford the choices available to other families,” said Claudia Hepburn, Director of Education Policy at The Fraser Institute. “Children First offers these children a hand up in the early years, when that help will count most. We are delighted to extend this program to families in Alberta.”
In Ontario, Children First grants are worth 50 percent of tuition at any independent elementary school in the province, to a maximum of $3500, to children whose family’s household income is less than twice the poverty line.
Children First won a Templeton Freedom Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2004 for the program’s innovative work helping disadvantaged children access better schools. It is the only Canadian program ever to have won this prestigious international award and was selected from over 140 programs in 50 countries.
Complete program details are available at