The full-day kindergarten (FDK) program in Ontario has enrolled more than one million students and will save families an estimated $1 billon in child care costs by the end of this school year.
This significant milestone comes as FDK enters its third full year. About 260,000 four- and five-year-olds are benefitting from FDK annually in approximately 3,600 schools across the province, saving families up to $6,500 per year in child care costs. FDK also makes it easier for parents to fully participate in the workforce, which helps increase opportunity and strengthen the economy, the government said in a statement.
Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education, said:”Our goal is to give all children a stronger start in school and in life, we are proud of our full-day kindergarten program, and thrilled to be reaching this important milestone. This innovative program represents one of the biggest investments and transformations in our education system and the results speak for themselves. We know FDK supports the continuum of learning and better prepares our children for Grade 1.”
Research shows FDK graduates are better prepared to enter Grade 1 and will be more successful in school. Overall, Grade 1 reading, writing and math scores are 5% higher for FDK students, while reading alone is 6.4% higher for FDK students.
Since its launch in 2010, Ontario has invested $1.5 billion in school boards to build or renovate FDK classrooms, making FDK one of the largest investments in education in a generation.
- Studies show that a return on public investment in early learning is at least seven to one.
- Since the introduction of FDK, licensed child care spaces for four- and five-year-old children located in schools has more than quadrupled (from 15,000 in 2011 to 74,000 in 2015).
- About 3,600 additional teaching positions and almost 10,000 early childhood educator positions have been created as a result of FDK. – CINEWS