Not all public schools will offer a full-day kindergarten program as previously promised, the provincial education minister has announced.
Education Minister Liz Sandals said while not all schools will offer full-day programs, parents who want to enrol their child will still have access to them. They may have to send their child to a school further away.
All-day Kindergarten was mandated in the Education Act which said that from 2014 onward every elementary school in every school board would operate a full-day junior kindergarten and kindergarten program.
But the full-day programs are being moved around and some schools that would have had the program will not.
Annie Kidder, Executive Director of People For Education said that “as an education policy, full day kindergarten is a great idea.” But, the trouble comes when “the rubber hits the road.” She said, overall, it’s hard to implement this program.
“In the end you have children attending kindergarten [twice as long]. This is what causes the changing of Grades that certain schools offer,” said Kidder.
Kidder said that this change will have an effect on the ‘905’ region because there is a massive influx of people and students and there are only so many schools.
A big issue with moving the full day programs arises when families who moved in to a neighbourhood for a specific school have to send their kids to different schools to get all day kindergarten.
“When you have to pick someone up at three and the other [kid] up at four…it’s a logistical nightmare,” said Betty Knight, an occasional teacher for the Peel District.
Some object to full-day kindergarten
Knight said she noticed that children in junior kindergarten who had full days often started to get tired and cranky in the afternoon. They wouldn’t get the naps that they were used to getting.
“It’s just too much for them,” said Knight.
Whitby parent and mother of three, Jennifer Olsen, agrees.
“Kids have their whole lives to spend in school, [so] I don’t agree with the push at three to four years of age to go full time,” Olsen said. “I don’t believe the program is any more ‘educational’ and we are [making] the day care centres and nursery schools lose business.”
“I like the idea of JK kids especially being half days every day and then even if they were full time by SK they’ve at least had some full time transition,” Olsen said
All-day programs save parents money
As a working, mother of one in Hamilton, Alexis Emerson said that she really relies on full day kindergarten because otherwise she would have to send her son to day care.
“Daycare costs 40$ a day at most places – that’s money the parents could be saving and putting towards other things if their child had access to all day kindergarten,” said Emerson.
To find out which schools will be offering full day kindergarten in the Toronto District School Board view the map below.
For all other school districts click here.
View Schools offering full-day kindergarten in a full screen map