Full-day learning to be introduced next school year
Thirty-three schools in Ottawa will start offering full-day kindergarten to four- and five-year-olds starting this fall.
Ontario formally announced the start to full-day kindergarten on Tuesday, indicating which schools will begin offering the program in September.
About 580 schools have been selected to offer full-day learning this fall; more schools will be added each year.
Although many schools will offer the program, parents will be given the choice as to whether they want to enroll their children in full-day learning, which will provide before- and after-school programming.
Help for busy parents
Premier Dalton McGuinty predicts the program will be offered in every Ontario school by September 2015 at an annual cost of $1.5 billion.
He says the program will give kids a better chance of finishing high school, getting a post-secondary education, and landing a good job. The government says full-day learning will also relieve pressure on busy parents.
"They will be able to find a full-day program for their four- and five-year-olds and they will be able to drop their children off in the morning early before they go to work and they'll be able to pick them up after school, after their extended day, in order that their child has an innovated learning experience for the whole day," said Education Minister Kathleen Wynne.
Each class will hold approximately 26 students and will be staffed by a teacher, as well as an early childhood educator.
Before- and after-school programming will be run by early childhood specialists for a fee that will be determined by local school boards. Subsidies will be available for those who can't afford the cost.
School boards with space are also being asked to run the special programming in the summer, on professional development days and statutory holidays.
If there's enough demand, schools will be asked to offer similar services for children age six to 12 at other times of the year.
With files from The Canadian Press