Full-day Kindergarten

My response to the article “Full-day kindergarten popularity outstrips plans to pay for it” printed in the Globe & Mail on December 6, 2010:  Why must we push our children into the school system so early? It is a shame that parents do not teach their children the abc’s themselves. I will never understand the point of having children when parents just want to push them out the door faster and faster. Full-day kindergarten and junior kindergarten is not something I will ever, ever support. 

Problems with the program are already starting to emerge – space and cost being the two biggies. Parents wanting to enrol their children are finding that boards of education just don’t have the space needed to accommodate their children and the schools that do let their children in, have huge class sizes (apparently to the tune of 26 or more).  Now tell me, how much individual attention is little Johnny going to get in a classroom of this size? Also, if our little Johnny has an undiagnosed learning disability is the teacher or early childhood educator going to be able to catch this? When my daughter was in kindergarten sixteen years ago, the class size was reasonable and her teacher was easily able to give her the attention she needed, thus determining she would benefit from speech therapy. Would this be caught today in a class of twenty-six or more students?

The second problem that must be dealt with is the cost of full-day kindergarten.  In a time of provincial cost-cutting and fiscal restraint can we afford this program? I really don’t believe so.  The program requires the hiring of more teachers, early childhood educators, and the expansion of before and after school programs plus the building of new additions on schools. Now some parents are overlooking these costs because it saves them money on daycare.  This brings me back to my earlier comment of “I will never understand the point of having children when parents just want to push them out the door…?” When my husband and I decided to have children there was a complete understanding that one of us would stay home to raise our children through their first five years of life.  This of course doesn’t work for single parents which I totally understand.  So, instead of the government spending loads and loads of money on teachers, early childhood educators, before and after school programs plus the building of additions on schools – how about we pay parents to stay home for the first five years of their child’s life? Then these parents can easily get together at each other’s homes, parks, libraries, etc. (support systems already in place)so they can meet their child’s social developmental needs, teach them the abc’s, and just have plain fun.  The parents get the added bonus of enjoying their child’s learning experience first-hand well they get a break from the daily grind of working nine to five, bolting to pick up their child, wolfing down supper, rushing to swimming or whatever other program they have their child in. Instead, the nightly routine is a leisurely supper, some playtime, some reading, and generally good bonding.

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