The BC government has announced a $45 per space funding grant for child care centres to adapt to the new all day Kindergarten programs that will be in every school this fall.
Too little. Too late.
I wish they would look to the Ontario full day Kindergarten for some ideas on how to do it right. BC's all day K program is loosely based on the Ontario model - some of the curriculum documents used Ontario's guides for reference.
But in terms of funding, integration, and the breadth of the program, the similarities unfortunately end there.
Ontario is introducing schooling for both junior and senior Kindergarten - 3 and 4 year olds. It is a play based model widely acknowledged as age appropriate by educators and early childhood educators. In the Ontario model, schools will house child care centres, and there will be a seamless transition for children into and out of school from the child care facilities. Each Kindergarten class will be staffed by a teacher AND an early childhood educator (ECE). The ECE will meet the children at the child care centre when it opens, and then transition with the children into the classroom where they will stay and work with the teacher until lunch. After lunch, a second ECE joins the class, who then transitions the children back to the child care centre and works with them until parent pick up time.
The program will be subsidized, to be affordable, and it provides a very well thought out model that creates stability and continuity for very young children, care for parents who require extended hours, and the early childhood learning of an early Kindergarten program.
Affordable childcare is a sorely needed service in most of Canada (Quebec being one of the few provinces to have actually addressed it). The Ontario model provides an integrated approach respectful of parents needs and children's early learning needs. Why can't BC do the same?
You can read here about the Ontario program.