Ford Government Looking at Ending Full Day Kindergarten

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Ford Government Looking at Ending Full Day Kindergarten

The Ford government is looking at ending full day kindergarten although there is much although not all evidence of it helping low income children most. Canada already spends the least of all OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - 36  wealthy countries allegedly "devoted to democracy and the maket economy" on early learning. 

Premier Doug Ford isn't guaranteeing that full-day kindergarten will continue beyond the next school year.

The program was introduced by former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty and was fully rolled out in 2014. It saves families thousands of dollars a year in child care costs, but it costs the government $1.5 billion a year. ...

Ford's government is conducting education consultations, including the possibility of removing class size caps for kindergarten and primary grades, and the premier was asked Wednesday about the future of full-day kindergarten.

"I can tell you that there's going to be all-day kindergarten next year and we'll sit down and you'll hear from us in the future,'' he said.



Several have looked at the phased-in rollout of FDK. Researchers at Queen’s and McMaster universities separately studied the first two years, which began in 2010, while the University of Toronto has been comparing the effects on staff, parents and children in both half-day and full-day kindergarten since the latter began.


Queen’s/McMaster study:

— Pupils in high-needs schools benefitted most.

— Those with special needs suffered, not enough extra support.

— FDK pupils entered Grade 1 ready to learn

— Before FDK, 27% of kids going into Grade 1 were vulnerable, ranking in the bottom 10th percentile on a scale measuring everything from general knowledge to physical health and well-being. Kids identified as vulnerable went down after FDK.

University of Toronto study:

— Compared 525 pupils, some in FDK, others in half-day program.

— FDK parents have less stress than half-day parents; believe their children are more ready to learn than others.

— Those who started FDK at age 5 outpaced those in half-day in vocabulary and focus for the first three years and started ahead of the half-day group in reading and writing, but didn’t maintain their edge in number knowledge.

— Those who began FDK at age 4 were ahead of the half-day group academically, but gradually lost that advantage by end of Grade 1 ...

“Universal public education for children is expensive, but it’s money well spent. It’s going to have a payoff over the entire lifetime of the child,” says Craig Alexander, chief economist at TD Bank Group.

For every dollar spent, the economy gets back $1.50 to $3 — a return that jumps into the double digits for disadvantaged kids, he says.

Of all comparable OECD countries, Canada ranks last in early learning spending, Alexander has found. He cites research by economist Pierre Fortin, who found Quebec’s government-subsidized child-care system pays because it allows more mothers to return to work, generating more tax revenue than the subsidy costs.

He calls Pelletier’s findings disappointing and inconsistent with international findings that kids with high-quality, early childhood education do much better.



More evidence for full day kindergarten:

Research evidence implies that full-day kindergarten offers longer lasting academic benefits for children from low-income families or others with fewer educational resources prior to kindergarten (Elicker, 2000). Researchers noted that by adding full-day kindergarten, the achievement gap narrows between children from different racial and eth- nic backgrounds. With the additional standards added in California, kindergarten teachers have expressed a need to have more time (Editorial, 2006). All-day kindergarten pro- vides the ability to effectively provide the type of instruction that allows for differentiation and other pedagogical approaches which benefits low-achieving students (Ray & Smith, 2010). Studies that focus on early childhood educa- tion often claim that those who graduated preschool had fewer children born out of wedlock, were less likely to be on welfare, and were more likely to be employed (Barnett & Escobar, 1987). Another study conducted for 19 years com- pared 989 disadvantaged children, mostly African American, who attended high-quality preschool with 550 similar chil- dren who attended full-day kindergarten (Ferrandino & Tirozzi, 2001). The extraordinary findings revealed that the preschool children had 41% fewer grade retention and spe- cial education referrals, had 29% higher high school gradua- tion rate, and were 33% less likely to be arrested as juveniles. Both of these studies indicate that the earlier a child’s formal education begins, the more likely they are to be academically successful and productive citizens.