It has been almost six months since Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy implemented full day kindergarten and they are already praising its positive effects on classroom learning. With 640 young students, Fraser Mustard is one of the largest all-day kindergarten schools in North America and is considered to provide the top example of the benefits the program has on children’s learning habits. Having invested more than 1.45 billion in capital to expand the curriculum, in addition to the millions of dollars in operating costs, the implementation of full day kindergarten has been a large part of the Ontario Liberal Party’s platform.
However, despite the praise from teachers, parents, and the government, positive effects may not be a result of the program. Marni Brownell, an associate professor in community health sciences at the University of Manitoba, reported to the Globe and Mail that “children often do not hold on to their early gains from the program because parents may not be reinforcing literacy and math at home. If you can get parental involvement, then perhaps you can expect more long-term benefits.” Other researchers agree with Brownell’s observation. A study published in Canadian Public Policy, “Does Full Day Kindergarten Help Kids?”, reports that disadvantaged students in British Columbia that attended a full day kindergarten program experienced academic advantages up until Grade 4. However, the majority of these children did not have adequate parental encouragement and reinforcement at home. While full day kindergarten exhibits advantages for children in primary grades, parental support of education appears to play a crucial role in a child’s education as well.
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