Back in the Fall of 2010, full-day kindergarten was launched in Ontario with much fanfare as a flagship initiative. Many other Provinces, including Alberta and Manitoba, had a close eye on it to see whether it would live up to the promises that the Dalton McGuinty administration had made.
Now, three years later, a new report has raised questions over the value delivered by the $5bn program. The report found that children, who had graduated from full-day kindergarten, were no better at reading, writing and number knowledge at the end of Grade 1, than their half-day peers.
Researchers from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) monitored the progress of 550 students. By the end of Grade 1, there was no distinguishable difference between children who had completed two years of full-day kindergarten and those who had completed junior and senior kindergarten attending half-day classes.
It’s not all downside for the full-day program though. While researchers found minimal notable differences between full and half-day students in most areas, they did note that full-day attendees fared better when it came to vocabulary, behaviour and play-based tasks – all essential traits of well-grounded young scholars.