Full Day Kindergarten in Full Swing

Tis the season for parents  with children turning 4 years old to become acquainted with formal schooling and the Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) expectations. Ontario, Canada has implemented full day Kindergarten for all students across the province.  I (Yiola) am experiencing first-hand the excitement and apprehension of sending my child, a darling, vulnerable, sensitive, sweet girl (Sylvia Clare), to school for 6.5 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Jumping online, I have read reviews — some for and some against — FDK and many focusing on children’s language and literacy development.  See below for some examples:

http://globalnews.ca/news/1237501/full-day-kindergarten-children-score-highest-in-vocabulary-self-regulation/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/full-day-kindergarten-offers-no-academic-advantage-study-says/article17715532/

As a parent, my worry is not so much if my Sylvia Clare’s academic achievement will be more or less. As a parent, my worries are related to her well-being. Will she be happy? Will she love herself even more? Will she make friends and learn how to work/play with others well? Will she come home each day and share stories of interesting things she did and learned.   I most certainly want to her read and write, but in good time. I feel there is no rush and I want a pressure-free learning environment for her.

In a recent article  http://www.mykawartha.com/news-story/4397024-why-full-day-kindergarten-has-better-prepared-our-kids-for-grade-1/,  educational consultant Joan Ruf comments:

“One of the wonderfully positive things about full-day kindergarten is the appreciation of the whole child,” she said, explaining the program is successfully marrying the concepts of academic and emotional growth. “So it’s not just about reading and math. It’s about how are they doing. What are they doing for themselves.”     This statement gives me some comfort.

Schools in Ontario are now inviting parents to attend FDK information sessions in order to prepare ‘us’ for the year ahead.  I will be writing about my experiences going through this process and journaling Sylvia Clare’s experiences as she begins FDK in September.

As a professor of education, through the researching and teaching and writing and sharing,   what lies at the centre of my work  are the children and their development as happy, healthy, thoughtful, literate human beings.

The issues surrounding FDK: its purpose, process, and outcomes are vast. With a political election looming the topic of FDK is front and centre and how it will be managed and maintained is up in the air.

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