Before you read this, please note that I absolutely adore children and I believe that their education is extremely important!
I have an issue with all-day kindergarten coming to 71 Toronto schools this September. It will cost the government $1.5 billion by 2015, when the plan is complete with a total of 600 schools offering all-day schooling for the kiddies. I understand that more kindergarten classes will bring more jobs to the Early Childhood Education front, but where is Ontario getting $1.5 billion? Ontario College professors aren't getting paid enough, minimum wage is barely enough to sustain an average lifestyle, poor people are starving on the streets, and that amount of money is going to pay for more space for full-time kindergarten teachers to educate 35, 000 4 to 5 year old children everyday?
My issue isn't exactly with the fact that 4 to 5 year old children are going to be educated every day, it's more with the uncertainty of whether Ontario even has this money to spend on something that doesn't seem as urgent as the other issues the province is currently facing.
I don't know much about children, but I worked with kids this past summer and I know for a fact that kids between 4 and 5 have the attention span of an ant. How are they going to focus from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every single day?
When I was growing up, I went to Jr. and Sr. Kindergarten half a day, everyday and I'm pretty sure I turned out alright. Perhaps there are more students now and fewer teachers, but wouldn't it make more sense to hire more teachers and use some of the $1.5 bilion to pay them to teach half day or every other day kindergarten programs?
Apparently, parents are being told that their children are going to "thrive" in the everyday program. I can see the children thriving with a healthy balance of home and school experiences throughout the week, but the substantials of the home keep getting pushed further and further away.
I don't know about you, but the first book I picked up was one from home.