It appears the early impacts of full day Kindergarten are positive ones.
Preliminary findings of a study conducted in partnership with McMaster and Queen’s Universities between 2010-2012 suggest significant reduced risks in several areas of development.
A comparison of children with two years of full day Kindergarten and those with none at all showed that the full day program reduced risks in social competence development from 10.5% to 5.2%, reduced risks in language and cognitive development from 16.4% to 4.3% and reduced risks in communication skills and general knowledge development from 10.5% to 5.6%.
Magdalena Janus is an associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster and says that full day Kindergarten is more than just double the hours spent in class. She says it’s an innovative program that involves new play-based curriculum, specific for the development of young children, which acts as a pre-cursor for success in later grades.
Janus says there have been other studies conducted in the province that show what happens in Kindergarten can determine how well children do in grades 3 and 6. She says full day Kindergarten is a population based preventative approach of which results may not be seen for years to come, perhaps in the highschool graduation rate.
Full day Kindergarten is available to 75 per cent of Ontario’s four and five-year olds this year and will be available in all elementary schools by September 2014.