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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Women, as main caregivers, take a hit in retirement – The Globe and Mail

Women, as main caregivers, take a hit in retirement – The Globe and Mail

Okay so women are the main caregivers – is this new news, no.  Women have always been the main caregivers and whose fault is that? Well it is the fault of women and men but more specifically parents, yes the ones that we are now looking after.  If women want this to change then they need to start raising their boys (with the help of their spouse) to be aware that it is okay for them to be caregivers. 

Some parents do already do this and I know first hand what kind of help that can be.  During the last six months of my father’s life, he lived in our house, and required quite a bit of care.  I would not say that I was lucky that my husband was quite helpful during this time but rather, I would say my husband was brought up to realize that whether or not he had a full-time job he was required to pitch in, in all aspects of his adult family life, which meant when I handed him the washcloth he had to wash my fathers ass because I had already washed the you know what in the front!  But I digress, the one thing that this article fails to address is that the woman who is caring for her parental unit and taking the hit in her retirement savings is that one day she may require the exact same type of assistance. Then, of course, the woman’s daughter will fall into the same trap. If I am right, then I go back to my earlier statement of ‘whose fault is this?’  You would think that over so many years, us women would start to wake up and change the way things are done.

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