All-day kindergarten ideal for children, Ontario report says

[from today's Globe and Mail...]

All-day kindergarten and seamless, school-centred childcare for four and five-year-olds are the recommendations of a proposed new education policy that could herald a sea change in Ontario's approach to child development, one that could become a national model.

After two years of study, former deputy minister of education Charles Pascal will on Monday release his long-awaited report on the province's early years education program.

It recommends that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty make the neighbourhood public school the hub of every community, where parents will get everything from prenatal advice and nutrition counselling to childcare for those under four, full-day kindergarten, and before and after school programming. Its doors would be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., its hallways filled with parents, infants, school-age children and grandparents, Mr. Pascal said.

By placing all these services under one roof, parents can minimize the difficult transitions that disrupt their own lives and the lives of their children, while allowing teachers and early childhood educators to focus on a mixed program that in the long run will boost literacy, graduation rates and post-secondary participation, the report says.

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