«

»

Nov 20

All-day kindergarten in Canada

In February of this year, British Columbia’s education minister Shirley Bond announced that her ministry would investigate the cost and feasibility of offering all-day kindergarten.  At this moment in B.C., all-day kindergarten is only available for aboriginal, ESL and special-needs children. The plan would mean that full day kindergarten would be available to all five-year-olds by September 2009 and they have plans to extend that to four- and three-year-olds by 2010 and 2012 respectively.

The current economic downturn is now threatening that plan (source). The plan would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars, so they are now studying how and when they can best implement these changes. There are lots of advantages and disadvantages when it comes to all-day kindergarten.

Advantages:

Besides the practical advantages like less transportation hassle (no school buses to children from school to daycare), full-day programs provide a relaxed, unhurried school day with more time for a variety of experiences, for screening and assessment opportunities, and for more interaction between adults and students.

Disadvantages:

A lot of people however think half a day is enough. It offers ample time in school and allows more time for the young child to play and interact with adults and other children in less-structured home or child care settings. Half a day provides continuity and systematic experience with less probability of stress. Also, full day kindergarten require additional teaching staff and aides to maintain an acceptable child-adult ratio. Another thing is that all day kindergarten is considered to be too academic, concentrating on basic skills before children are ready. I can also imagine that practically one half-day of an all-day program may become merely child care.

Of course the decision to put a child into a half-day or full-day kindergarten program lies with the parents, and it all depends on the child itself. What do you think is best?

16 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. Jessica

    My child is already in school all day and did last year when she was in j/k. I like it and so does my daughter. If class is fun and engaging, I think children like it. Yes, they are less energetic when they get home at the end of the day, but my daughter can’t stop talking about all she does. I’m glad for no half days because it’s only a couple hours and really once you get started, it’s just about over. There are plenty of things to learn in a full day at school, that is, if you have the right teacher. I’m a stay at home mom, so I don’t know the downfall of having to pick up a kid after a half day, but I think full days would be better for the economics of both parents who work. Ultimitely if you look at the ratio of learning to playing from full days to half days, they are getting the same. Half days you learn the whole time and then play at daycare or home. Full days you have learning mixed with playtime for the whole day. The children aren’t learning the whole time in school, there are recesses and the right amount of in class play time. But at the same time, the play time in class is structured enough to follow the lesson plan for the day.

    Well, that’s it, my two cents. My daughter as well as I enjoy full days and I would encourage them.

  2. Bonnie the Web Designer

    Our son is a special needs child with a developmental speech delay. He has been in school since he was 3 and is now 6 and this year was mainstreamed into regular kindergarten. We tried to put him into a full-day program. As a matter of fact, we tried 3 different programs in the afternoon (in the morning he was always in special ed developmental kindergarten classes). He did not do well in any of the all day school scenarios. It was determined that it was just too much for him. So we ended up having him in half day kindergarten and having him come home the rest of the day. His issues and temperment improved dramatically.

    I think each child is different and you cannot really say what is best until you try both and see what situation your child thrives in.

  3. Yvonne

    I think that all day kindergaraten is too much for most five year olds. As stated before it is more time for play and the learning time is the same, therefore I believe the play time should be done at home and/or daycare. It may help families where both parents work but as a taxpayer that’s not my responsibility to help them out with their childcare issues. I agree that 2 1/2 hours is not convient, other schools do whole days every other day with one day either being a half day or going to school three days one week and two the next – this method give kindergarten students the feel of all day school but gives them a break every other day. My child should not have to go to school every day all day just so people can have an easier time with their childcare.

  4. Lisa

    In 1991, The NewBrunswick government established a full day Kindergarten program. I was lucky enough to be in on the ground floor and have been teaching Kindergarten since conception. I am always amazed at how much growth a child can learn in a run of a year. I have seen children enter my class with no knowledge of letters and sounds and by the end of the year are reading and writing. I believe that 5 year old children are capable of learning many things and if done correctly (taking in account the different ways they learn) a full day program would be wonderful. I have seen the beniefts of such a program and would encourage other provinces to do the same.

  5. Lara LaFreniere

    Hi
    I’m not sure where you got this info, but there are a number of issues: one-education is provincial in Canada, not federal therefore we do not have a “Minister of Education” for the country. Each province has there own way of structuring this.
    Secondly “full day” junior (4 year olds) and senior (5 year olds) kindergarten has been in Canada for decades.
    Your infomation is just not accurate or timely.
    Sorry about that,
    Lara

  6. Nicole Stockley

    Re: Lara’s negativity

    Regarding the “issues” you pinpointed.
    #1 – yes, education is provincial, not federal but it is quite clear that the ministry mention is PROVINCIAL even though there is an error in the title.
    Quote:
    In February of this year, British Columbia’s education minister Shirley Bond announced that her ministry…End quote

    #2 – yes, “full day” junior (4 year olds) and senior (5 year olds) kindergarten has been in Canada for decades. But as the author stated
    Quote : At this moment in B.C., all-day kindergarten is only available for aboriginal, ESL and special-needs children. The plan would mean that full day kindergarten would be available to all five-year-olds by September 2009 and they have plans to extend that to four- and three-year-olds by 2010 and 2012 respectively. End quote

    Maybe before you attack someone for not being accurate or timely, you should try to process what you have read (not what you thought you read) and decide wether or not your comments are apppropriate.

    “Sorry about that”,
    Nicole

  7. Nicole

    Re: Lara’s negative comment.

    Regarding the “issues” you pinpointed.
    #1 – yes, education is provincial, not federal but it is quite clear that the ministry mention is PROVINCIAL
    Quote:
    In February of this year, British Columbia’s education minister Shirley Bond announced that her ministry…End quote

    #2 – yes, “full day” junior (4 year olds) and senior (5 year olds) kindergarten has been in Canada for decades. But as the author stated
    Quote : At this moment in B.C., all-day kindergarten is only available for aboriginal, ESL and special-needs children. The plan would mean that full day kindergarten would be available to all five-year-olds by September 2009 and they have plans to extend that to four- and three-year-olds by 2010 and 2012 respectively. End quote

    Maybe before you attack someone for not being accurate or timely, you should try to process what you have read (not what you thought you read) and decide wether or not your comments are apppropriate.

    “Sorry about that”,
    Nicole

  8. Nicole

    sorry about the double post

  9. Gina

    I teach all-day Kindergarten and the entire day is used to meet state and federal requirements imposed on schools to prepare students for first grade. Even though all-day kindergarten is more academic than in the past there is also more time to accomplish goals and for extended enrichment that would not be possible in a half day program. Students enjoy the full day and parents and teachers appreciate the growth children make throughout the year.

  10. sarah

    I am a teacher in BC and we are looking forward to full day Kindergarten in our district. I always feel rushed to complete themes and units. In a full day program I will be able to do more in depth teaching and I will be able to have more hands on experiments and time to explore concepts. Also, the children will be able to have free unstructured play time and outside play time which is really how they learn best. Through play.

  11. Moe

    Thank you all for your comments I am feeling much more at ease sending my child to full day K in the fall.

    I was worried about it being too long of a day but hearing that the learning is NOT rushed I think will be more helpful for children.

    I just wish we had more of a gradual entry like half day until Christmas break…then to start full day in January 🙂

    Moe

  12. Rentia

    I’m a kindergarten teacher in South Africa. Here, almost all of the working parents’ children are in full day schools. The difference is, we have a structured morning programme with qualified teachers from 06h45 to 13h00. After that the children are cared for by staff without educational qualifications. They sleep a while and then play the rest of the afternoon until mom comes to pick them up at about 17h00. It seems to work well. I would have been emotionally depleted if I had to formally “edutain” my 5-year olds a full day! :o)

  13. Andrea

    I am a Kindergarten & Pre-K teacher and having just come off a mat. leave in November I was very happy to find a Kindergarten job posting in December (as I LOVE this grade level). I got the job and began in January. I have 14 Kindergarten students who attend M-W-F all day, and 25 (!!!) Pre-K students who attend Tues. & Thu. all day! …and I haven’t had an EA since March 31st! It has been very exhausting and I do not enjoy my Pre-K days, to say the least. The reason the job became available is because parents in this particular community complained that their students (pre-k) were only getting one full day a week (which would work out to two half-days per week, a normal pre-k week, and the class was split into two groups prior to mid-Jan.). Therefore the teacher resigned…and I understand her decision completely! A full day in pre-k is an extremely long and unproductive day. The early learning experts who occasionally visits my classroom agrees, and in fact she fought to keep the program schedule as it was prior to January. Twenty-five 3 & 4 year-olds for a full day of school? It’s ridiculous. By noon my classroom turns into a daycare centre as they become less attentive and manageable and very tired. I feel like i’m wasting my education in a daycare setting! Parents are NOT education professionals and should never be allowed to make these kinds of decisions simply because they need a babysitter.

  14. Andrea

    p.s.
    I like what they’re doing in South Africa! 🙂

  15. Taylor

    Hi, I am currently teaching JK and SK. I have JKs attending in the a.m and SKs attending in the p.m. In September we are moving to have full day JK and full day SK. Our JK students do not have to attend full day until after January. At that time, parents have the option to send their child for the half day or full day.
    I will be teaching full day SK and am looking forward to it. 🙂

  16. Debbie

    I teach kindergarten. Prior to the 09-10 school year I taught half day K, a group from 8:15 til 11:30 and then the next group from 12 til 3. This school year I taught full day. I loved it! I had more time to devote to various subjects, I had more time for individualized instruction, and more time for the “extras”. At frist the children were tired and asked about going home around 1:00, as they became accustomed to the routine this diminished. The group I sent to first grade is more prepared. Most are reading, all have good handwriting skill,a nd I am amazed at how well they grasped math concepts!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>