Full Day Kindergarten???

Is it really a good idea?

Frankly, I don't think that we need full day Kindergarten for all children. At Kindergarten age, most children get what they need from a fully play-based, language rich environment with songs, stories, drawing/arts/crafts, building materials, and many other traditionally play-school and home based activities. Structured, direct instruction in academics (pre-literacy and numeracy learning) can be introduced in the smallest doses, as a component of a half-day program that gets a child ready for school in Grade 1. 

I am in favour of CBE's current model of having full day Kindergarten available in a small number of schools where there are many children who do need an extended program to make them more ready for Grade 1 the following year.  

I am not in favour of spending a great deal of money on an educational program that most children do not need. The arguments for full day Kindergarten are, in my opinion, much more about parent need than about most children's needs. A half-day program is an ideal transition into school for most small children. Full day Kindergarten will only lead to 1/2 day "junior kindergarten" as in Ontario, where costs are extremely high.  This isn't needed. Let's be good stewards and save our resources for the relatively few children who do need more. 

My main opponents say directly that their interests are in meeting adult needs, not just children's. During the parent forum held at Centennial High School, Mike Bradshaw, of the Student's Count Slate/party, said that parents have to work and they need care for their children, so he would be in support of full day Kindergarten. It would save parents day care costs. 

When a parent later asked me about full day Kindergarten, I indicated that I was not in favour and I contrasted my view with Mike's response at the forum.  She replied  "I read some responses that Mr. Bradshaw had on the topic of busing which led me to believe that he had his priorities totally messed up.  Parents first then children.  The comment he made at the meeting {about full day Kindergaren} was really ridiculous . . . "    (the emphasis is mine :-) )

Tory Tomblin's stance is on her website. She's in favour of full day Kindergarten. One of the arguments put forward on her website is "This will help parents with scheduling and childcare while they work." Again, this is about adult needs not children. 

Public education dollars are not intended for day-care services. Teachers (and their salaries) are not there to baby-sit! Most teachers I know would find this highly insulting!

If we were to decide as a society to subsidize day-care on a wider scale, high cost public education is certainly NOT the way to do this. There are far less expensive ways to provide day care if that's what voters want. Mike and Tory's arguments for full day Kindergarten suggest to me that they are parent advocates not child (or teacher) advocates, These plans are not fiscally responsible. They don't consider everybody. All of the public/tax-payers should be represented by school board Trustees! I will certainly bring that lens into the board room!






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