Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Full-day kindergarten treatment

There certainly has been no lack of media coverage on the launch of full-day kindergarten in Ontario. With most school boards beginning classes today, the coverage has been wall-to-wall. In the past week I've seen plenty of local news alerts from smaller media covering the launch of the program at the schools in their coverage areas who are booting up the school year with the full-day program.
With the recent addition of the Ministry of Education, ministry staff member(s) and even Premier Dalton McGuinty to Twitter, each has attempted their best to get the full-day kindergarten hashtag to be a trending topic by putting it on virtually every tweet. The hashtag was getting good use on Tuesday morning by more than just government, with opposition leader Tim Hudak's name appearing in more than a few tweets as well.
From what I've been able to see today though, it appears the Globe and Mail is leading the way with its coverage. Haven't yet seen it in print (the newspapers are stored at Massey somewhere I haven't been yet, obviously), but online the series that started with some promise today is in three parts (one, two, three). The Globe is committing to following four families through this entire school year -- three whose children are registered in full-day kindergarten and a fourth who is attending a part-time program.
This is the sort of commitment that few Canadian media can make with the resources they have, so big kudos to the Globe for taking this on. I do hope they stick with it-- the newspaper tried something like this with a series of families by Andre Picard around 10 years ago and it quietly disappeared before the actual entire year was completed.
I'm also only mildly disappointed that all four families (only three are profiled today) are from Ontario, when the lead paragraphs point out B.C. and P.E.I. also kicked off full-day kindergarten programs this year. It would have been nice to have followed a child in each of those other provinces, but given today's realities I can understand the Globe may not have been willing to fly Kate Hammer and its videographer out to those two other provinces throughout the next 10 months. Four families within easy commuting distance of Front Street is a far more achievable target to keep pace with.
I'm looking forward to the rest of the series as it unfolds in the coming months, as well as to what other media across the province have to contribute to the discussion. Hopefully, one of the half-year courses I'm pegged to audit comes through, in which case I'll be spending part of the academic year here following early childhood development education as well.


Anonymous said...

If per pupil funding is up 50% why did most of it go to a 25% salary increase for teachers, but parents and schools have to fundraise for essentials like textbooks and supplies??? Not something they should be bragging about.

I hope journalists will learn how to do some better digging at college...

Education Reporter said...

Anon 8 Sept. 09:16
I completely agree. Many journos do need to learn more about education. That's how increases in "school-generated funds" comes to mean increases in fundraising. One is not the other and not enough journos (or other groups, such as People for Education, for example) are taking the time to show what the difference is.

Please try and keep your future comments relevant to the actual post, not just general quips about increases in funding.