Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Earlier start and full-day kindergarten being considered

The Province

By Glenda Luymes, Vancouver Province

Published: Thursday, July 03, 2008

B.C. parents could soon be sending their toddlers off to school as the provincial government considers full-day pre-kindergarten for three- and four-year-olds and full-day kindergarten for five-year-olds.

The proposal is currently under review by the Ministry of Education after the B.C. government committed to studying the feasibility of providing full-day kindergarten for five-year-olds in the 2008 throne speech. The ministry is also considering day-long pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds by 2010 and three-year-olds by 2012.

The proposal is based on studies that show children between the ages of three and five are at an ideal age to begin learning.

Many school districts have already established pilot projects to see if full-day kindergarten is successful. But the proposal has critics, with some wondering how the government will pay for more class time in the face of declining enrollment and school closures. Others worry about sending their kids off to school too soon.

The Early Childhood Learning Agency, a special Ministry of Education branch announced in the throne speech, has been tasked with providing a report to government on the idea.

The public consultation process ends July 18.

Visit http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/ecla/ to provide input.