As my daughter, Alice, headed back to school this year, I was interested to read the study calling full-day kindergarten (FDK) a measured success. Full-day kindergarten was launched in Ontario in 2010 and has been slowly rolling out across the province, starting with the schools deemed to have the most need.
There’s been a fair bit of controversy surrounding full-day kindergarten including the expense and lack of space and resources. But according to Education Minister Liz Sandals, researchers have already seen an improvement in children’s preparedness for grade one.
Key findings from the analysis include:
- Overall, students in FDK are better prepared to enter Grade 1 and be more successful in school.
- In every area, students improved their readiness for Grade 1 and accelerated their development.
- Comparisons of children with two years of FDK instruction and children with no FDK instruction showed that FDK:
- Reduced risks in social competence development from 10.5 per cent to 5.2 per cent.
- Reduced risks in language and cognitive development from 16.4 per cent to 4.3 per cent.
- Reduced risks in communication skills and general knowledge development from 10.5 per cent to 5.6 per cent.
My daughter had half-day junior kindergarten but full-day senior kindergarten last year. She’s just started grade one, and is one of only five grade one students in a grade one-two class, so I’m grateful that her school was an early adapter of full-day kindergarten. Then again, Alice is a January baby, so she’s older than many of the kids in her class. I’m not sure I would have wanted her starting full-day JK at age three.
Time will tell if the improvements seen are maintained as the children get older. In the meantime, let us know what your experience has been. Would you call full-day kindergarten a success for your child or your classroom? Or are you still waiting for it to come to your neighbourhood or province?