Full-day kindergarten gets underway this fall
Published Monday, January 11, 2010 6:11PM EST
Nearly 600 schools across the province will offer full-day kindergarten, starting this fall.
Thirty-three schools in Ottawa's public and Catholic school boards have applied to deliver the full-day kindergarten program this September. They are still awaiting final approval from the province.
The Upper Canada School Board hopes 20 of its schools will also be selected for full-day learning.
It's expected about 35,000 children province-wide will be enrolled in the program in the next school year.
Premier to provide details
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is set to announce details of the plan at a news conference in Chatham on Tuesday.
McGuinty first unveiled his vision for full-day kindergarten in late October. By 2011, the province hopes to have 50,000 kindergarteners taking part in all-day schooling.
By the time the program is fully implemented in 2015, it's estimated it will cost $1.5 billion per year.
Under the plan, a teacher and an early childhood educator will preside over a class of 26 students.
There will also be before- and after-school programs led by early childhood educators. While those programs will not be free, there will be subsidies for low-income families.
The government has said about 25 per cent of the province's schools already have the space available to accommodate the program.
B.C. is also moving in this direction. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec, five-year-olds attend kindergarten all day. Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta have some programming for four-year-olds.
Ontario's move was prompted in part by a report released last June that said children who attend full-day programs prior to Grade 1 perform better academically and socially.
However, the move comes as Ontario wrestles with a deficit of nearly $25 billion. The Conservative opposition has said the province cannot afford the program.
With a report from CTV Toronto