Economic crunch means all-day kindergarten is ill-timed, say teachers

Postmedia News/Nanaimo Daily news

A phased-in approach to implementing kindergarten on a full-day basis, a change from the traditional half-day, was announced by the provincial government in 2009. Bringing it in over two years rather than all at once was touted as a way to ease the transition, but critics said the tough economic climate meant the concept was a good idea coming at the wrong time.

They also questioned whether enough money would be provided to do the job properly. Overall provincial funding for changing the kindergarten program is $280 million, along with $144 million for new construction and other requirements.

“The reservations the trustees had around it were whether it would be properly funded, because there are general concerns around education funding, and there were also issues around facilities,” McEvoy said. “Some classrooms had to be refitted and in other cases space had to be added.”

But the money did come through to allow for a solid start-up year, McEvoy said.

Tara Ehrcke, president of the 1,500-member Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, said the first year of fullday kindergarten has gone “reasonably well,” but there are aspects that will be monitored.

“Our big concern is the K-Grade 1 split classes.” The association views the combination of kindergarten students with Grade 1s as potentially difficult due to their different curriculums, Ehrcke said….