A few cities and provinces have rolled out all-day, everyday kindergarten for Canadian students. While I realize education is extremely crucial to the development of our younger generations- the future leaders of our country- governments and school boards need to know when to draw the line, if not for the sake of the children, for the sake of the tax payer.
Earlier in January of this year, the Saskatchewan government confirmed it doesn’t plan to implement full-day kindergarten programs anytime soon, despite requests from school boards to make it available across the province. While 17 elementary schools in Saskatoon offer full-day kindergarten, there are no full-day programs offered in Regina.
I applaud our provincial government for coming to this conclusion.
My colleagues assure me that my opinion will surely change once I have children, but as I stand now- childless- I agree with many critics who argue full-day, everyday kindergarten is more like free all-day babysitting.
How many parents would opt for full-day, every day kindergarten for the simple avoidance of paying steep childcare expenses?
In a society where our lives are so dictated by routine and one that places undue pressure onto children, we need to give kids the time to play, room to breathe and opportunity to just…let kids be kids. Ushering kids to school at 9 a.m., picking them up at 3 p.m., dragging them to hockey practise, soccer practise, band practise must be exhausting to the minds and bodies of the little four and five year olds.
Sure stimulation, interaction and activity is great for children but “everything is good in moderation.” Parents shouldn’t have to schedule play time, or pencil in a play-date.
Some argue that exposing children to all-day kindergarten, five days a week, would have a positive impact on their learning but government said the cost associated with such implementation would be substantial.
Just look to Ontario for an idea of the costs associated with changing the school calendar and curriculum. The province of Ontario will spend around $1.5 billion to fully implement a full-day kindergarten program, once improvements are factored in.
Ontario, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island all offer full-day kindergarten classes as an option, but why force so much pressure onto children right off the bat? Why not ease them into school? Young kids aren’t accustomed to sharing with 28 others; aren’t used to taking lunch or recess at the sound of a bell; and aren’t used to a strange man or woman instructing them on what to do or how to do it throughout the day. Why not ease the tiny tots into school routine and schedule?
Kindergarten everyday, five full days a week? It’s like giving a four or five-year-old child a full-time job. Our days exhaust us, and that’s with the mental and physical capacity to endure eight hours of responsibility. Kids don’t have to be enrolled in full-day kindergarten to reap the benefits of learning. If I’ve learned anything from watching girlfriends’ children, it’s that they’re little sponges.
Research demonstrates that children absorb the greatest amount of information and develop the most between 0-6 years old. Children don’t need obtrusive full-day kindergarten or academic curriculum to begin developing; everyday sensory, life experience and interaction provide them with the tools for learning. It’s important to that kids be kids. They shouldn’t be forced to conform to a classroom setting 40 hours a week at four or five years old. It’s too young.