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Introducing Full-Day Kindergarten

Archived Backgrounder

Introducing Full-Day Kindergarten

Ministry of Education

Full-day kindergarten is the next step in our plan to help our kids get a better education in kindergarten through Grade 3. It helps kids get the best possible start. We're helping make things better for students from their first day of school to their last - and every day in between.

Ontario's new full-day kindergarten program will help prepare children academically and socially for Grade 1. Children will develop the reading, writing and math skills they need earlier in their lives, so they can succeed in school and down the road.

This school year, full-day kindergarten will be available in nearly 600 schools.  In September 2011, it will be available in an additional 200 schools. That means, by 2011, up to 50,000 children will benefit from the program. It will be phased in over time, and all publicly funded elementary schools should have it in place by 2015-16. 

The list of schools that will offer the program in 2010-11 and 2011-12 is available at Ontario.ca/Kindergarten.  

An integrated day

Ontario is beginning to implement full-day kindergarten for four- and five-year-olds with a seamless and integrated day that includes:

  • An engaging, play-based educational program during the regular school day (for example, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
  • Integrated programs before and after school hours designed to complement the regular school day. These are optional and are offered to parents for a reasonable fee, where there is enough demand. Subsidies will be available for some families based on need.

 At the nearly 600 schools where full-day kindergarten begins this September, parents can chose to remove their child for part of the day if that is what works best for them. Full-day kindergarten is not mandatory. Like existing kindergarten programs, parents will continue to have the choice about whether to enrol their four- and five-year olds in full-day kindergarten. In Ontario, children are required to attend school once they turn six years old. Although kindergarten is voluntary, 90 per cent of eligible children are enrolled.

Play-based learning throughout the day

Throughout the day, children will have opportunities to initiate play-based learning, as well as take part in more structured play-based learning under the guidance of a teacher and early childhood educator (ECE). Through play-based learning and small group instruction, children will develop a strong foundation for learning in all areas, including language and math. They will engage in healthy physical activities and the arts, and develop socially and emotionally through interaction with their peers and the educators who guide them.

How schools were selected

School boards worked with other local school boards and municipalities when determining which schools would offer full-day kindergarten this fall. Boards were also asked to consider:

  • Available space - school boards looked at which schools had classroom space available and did not require new additions or renovations.
  • Impact on existing local child care - school boards and municipalities worked together to consider the impact of sites selected on child care programs.
  • Local need - school boards considered the various needs of all the communities that they serve and how early learning could meet those needs. A portion of the first-year schools serve low-income neighbourhoods.

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