Ont. legislation creates all-day kindergarten
TORONTO - Legislation has been introduced to create all-day learning for four- and five-year-olds in Ontario starting this fall.
The bill calls on school boards to offer full-day junior and senior kindergarten in addition to extended-day programs that would be offered even on days when schools are closed.
About 580 schools will offer the full-day learning to about 35,000 children starting in September, which will expand to all elementary schools in Ontario by 2015 at a cost of $1.5 billion a year.
Each class will include a teacher and an early childhood educator and up to 26 children, higher than the current primary class cap of 20 to 23 kids.
Parents can pay extra for child care before 9 a.m. and after 3:30 p.m., which would be provided by early childhood educators, and subsidies will be available for low-income families.
The government will have to hire 3,800 new teachers and more than 20,000 new early childhood educators over the next five years for the expanded programs for young children.
Premier Dalton McGuinty says other programs won't suffer while the deficit-strapped government comes up with $200 million this year and $300 million next year to start phasing in all-day learning.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the extended daycare program at schools will make it harder for parents to find licensed and affordable daycare spaces.