Toronto, ON – Thousands more Ontario children are going to get a better start with the announcement that 900 more schools will offer full-day kindergarten in 2012, says the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
“Ontario’s full-day kindergarten is leading the way in North America when it comes to early learning,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “It’s important that all Ontario students gain access to the significant benefits of the full-day program offered to four-and-five-year olds.”
Hammond stressed that it’s the combined skills and expertise of teachers and early childhood educators that sets Ontario apart from many other education systems. The full day, combined with the renewed focus on play-based learning, is providing children with a definite advantage and head-start when it comes to developing literacy, numeracy and social skills.
“A play-based program is essential for fostering creativity, initiative, collaboration, and problem-solving,” said Hammond. “Children who play develop strong oral communication skills; they are more confident, are better able to make friends, and are persistent and creative in completing tasks and solving problems.”
“By all accounts, the first year of the full-day Early Learning program has been a success,” added Hammond. “We know from research that investment in early learning is good for child development and is central to long-term economic development in the province.”
“Skilled, well-educated people are critical for Ontario’s economic prosperity”, said Hammond. “We can’t afford not to ensure over the next five years that all kindergarten children have access to full-day learning.”
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.