Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Niagara on full-day kindergarten: Us first, please

The St. Catharines Standard's Tiffany Mayer had this posted Tuesday on the Region of Niagara's position that it lead the way when it comes to the implementation of full-day learning for four- and five-year-olds, or full-day kindergarten as everyone outside the government calls it. The article was prompted by a visit from early learning adviser Charles Pascal.
With full-day Kindergarten already in 37 local public and Catholic schools, and being a mainstay in French schools for the past decade, O’Hagan-Todd noted Niagara is already doing much of what Pascal suggests.
The District School Board of Niagara’s new Parenting and Family Literacy Centres, which offer a place to parents with children under six to come, in part, to get accustomed to the school routine, are another point in Niagara’s favour, she said.
Half of the Region’s licensed day-care centres are also housed in schools.
Pascal is quoted telling his Niagara audience the region is set to be a leader in implementing his report's recommendations. One of a few, given Pascal has brought the message on several occasions to the London area as well (including at the event I covered and posted several things about back in August). No quibble there, given locally the only full-day programs are in the French-language boards and there are not anywhere near as many childcare centres in schools (only one in my entire coverage area, with maybe a dozen in London).
I get it-- Pascal's very much in the 'rally the troops' phase of his recommendations. The government has signalled its intent to proceed, purse-string restrictions and all. The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario and the Ontario College of Teachers have signalled their concerns. Getting the different areas of the province in line and pulling towards implementation is a very important next step.