About 35,000 kids will be able to enrol in full day kindergarten next September, which McGuinty promised will expand to 50,000 kids in 2011, and to all eligible children in 2015 at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion a year.
Both the Liberals and Opposition Conservatives appear to be spoiling for a fight over all day kindergarten, with McGuinty warning that unless he's in charge, a new group of chop happy Tories will slash the very programs that parents need most.
Moving forward with all day kindergarten billed as a North American first may require cuts in other spending areas, McGuinty warned.
Teachers' unions had balked at the idea of working alongside staff with "lower credentials." Their exact roles and responsibilities have yet to be determined, Wynne said.
TORONTO Ontario will move ahead with a massive and costly program to offer full day kindergarten for all four and five year olds despite an unprecedented $25 billion deficit this year, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday.
Early education, which started out as a Liberal campaign promise, will likely ignite more sparks as Ontario heads into the 2011 election.
It also said that children who have attended full day programs before Grade 1 fare better academically and have better social skills.
Even though Ontario is expecting to hemorrhage red ink for years with no end in sight, it's "essential" that the province invest in the $1.5 billion a year program to build a stronger workforce down the road, he said.
Class sizes will also increase under the new program, but there will be enough funding for two adults for every 26 children, McGuinty said. The current provincial cap for primary classes is 20 Nike Air Max 90 Vt On Feet to 23 students.
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Opposition Leader Tim Hudak wouldn't say if he would scrap full day kindergarten, but said the province can't afford another big spend program when it's in such bad financial shape.
About 18,000 of the over 240,000 junior and senior kindergarten students in Ontario are already enrolled in full day learning at a handful of francophone and Catholic schools, which fund the programs by diverting money from other sources, provincial officials said.
"I mean, my two year old daughter is probably going Nike Air Max 90 Christmas
It's easy to "cobble together" a program just to say you're doing something to keep kids busy, McGuinty said.
to be thinking about going to prom by the time he unrolls this program."
Ontario has part day kindergarten for four year olds, but school is not mandatory until Grade 1.
"The programming that we've settled on is not the least expensive program, but it speaks to our desire to have in place a quality program," he said.
The school boards that will offer the program will be announced early in the new year. Priority will be given to low income neighbourhoods, as well as those that have available space and have the greatest need for the program.
A recent poll suggested that support is slipping for the Liberals amid recent spending scandals at eHealth Ontario and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., as well as the $24.7 billion deficit the largest in the province's history.
Under the new plan, teachers will take the lead but also work with early educators in the classroom, said Education Minister Kathleen Wynne.
Charles Pascal, the government's early learning adviser, had estimated that the fully implemented early learning program could cost about $1 billion and recommended phasing it in over three years.
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waiting for?" he asked reporters after touring a Toronto kindergarten class.
now he's kicked off his Hallmark campaign promise until after the next election," he said.
McGuinty's staff couldn't provide a breakdown of how much will be spent on all day kindergarten over the next five years, but the government has set aside $500 million over two years to start it up.
"It will. It will in due course. That's not the announcement I'm making here today though."
His government "can't have everything," but it will continue to support education and health care, he added.
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec offer all day kindergarten for five year olds. Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec offer some programs for four year olds.
day kindergarten going ahead despite record
"Parents everywhere are the same," McGuinty said. "All we want is for our children to grow up and be the very best that they might be, to achieve their greatest potential."
That puts Ontario behind British Columbia, which plans to offer full day kindergarten to all of its five year olds by 2011.
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