All-Day Schooling for Ages 3 to 5? (broken link)

From the February 2008 Throne Speech (broken link):

“A new Early Childhood Learning Agency will be established. It will assess the feasibility and costs of full school day kindergarten for five-year-olds. It will also undertake a feasibility study of providing parents with the choice of day-long kindergarten for four-year-olds by 2010, and for three-year-olds by 2012. That report will be completed and released within the year.”

Kids First Commentary

Will Minister Bond poll parents and ask what we prefer: more schooling or more financial help at the same dollar level?

What are they thinking? Most families with dependent children are not asking for more tax dollars going to subsidize institutional settings for young children.

Governments need to stop punishing parents and pushing us away from our own children by preferentially subsidizing institutions over families.

The BC government promises “to use underutilized school spaces to deliver early learning services.”[1] But our children are not fodder to fill up “underutilized” schools as the child-population decreases due to the low birthrate. Teachers’ unions’ interests should not trump parents’ and children’s interests.

Families with dependent children need direct financial support for our child-care costs and work. Nearly one quarter (23.5%) [2] of BC children live below the Low Income Cut-Off. House prices average up to over $1 million in Vancouver. Welfare ends when the youngest child turns three.

Parents need to be respected—not replaced—by government.

Institutional settings for young children cause much higher rates of infection and illness[3], and higher levels of stress (cortisol)[4]. They are consistently associated with higher levels of aggression regardless of quality [5]. Higher academic test scores have been linked to participation in high quality institutional settings but these outcomes have not been shown to last. And most institutional care/learning is not high quality [6].

Notes

[1] StrongStart BC (broken link)

[2] Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada p.143 (broken link)

[3] “Child care and common communicable illnesses: Results from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care.” (broken link) Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 155, 481-488.

Child care and common communicable illnesses in children aged 37 to 54 months.” (broken link) Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 157.

[4] Watamura, S., Donzella, B., Alwin, J., & Gunnar, M. (2003). “Morning-to-afternoon increases in cortisol concentrations for infants and toddlers at child care age differences and behavioural correlates.” Child Development, 74(4), 1006 – 1020. Commentaries on Watamura (broken link)

[5] “Child Care and Behavior Findings from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Study of Child Care and Youth Development” (broken link)

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development “Child Care Linked to Assertive, Noncompliant, and Aggressive Behaviors” (broken link) July 16 2003

Child Care and Behavior, Findings from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Study of Child Care and Youth Development (broken link) , Harvard Graduate School of Education, July 16, 2003

[6] You Bet I Care! 2 (broken link) p. ix-x

Gillian Doherty presentation “Quality & Predictors of Quality in Canadian Child Care” (broken link) Centre for Excellence for Early Childhood Development, Regina June 2005 p.4

Sweden – see report “Pre-school in Transition” and “Children’s cortisol levels and quality of child care provision” (broken link) Child: Care, Health and Development Volume 32 Issue 4 Page 453 July 2006 abstract

Gerhardt, S. (2004). Why love matters: How affection shapes a baby’s brain. (broken link)