OPSBA Applauds With Our Best Future in Mind Report



    TORONTO, June 15 /CNW/ - The Ontario Public School Boards' Association
(OPSBA) wholeheartedly embraces the fundamental importance of Full-time Early
Learning. Investing in our youngest children in the early years represents the
most far-reaching and responsible investment we can make in Ontario's future.
The release of the report With Our Best Future in Mind creates a
once-in-a-generation opportunity to give our children the kind of start that
assures their readiness to succeed in school and in life.
    "Every child deserves the best possible start," said OPSBA president
Colleen Schenk. "A child's readiness to learn at the start of grade one is the
single strongest predictor of how well the child will do in every grade,
whether they will graduate successfully, what their earning potential will be,
how positive their contribution to society will be and even how healthy they
will be. The research is overwhelming, consistent and irrefutable."
    The With Our Best Future in Mind report has the potential to make our
already strong public education system even stronger. Full-day learning for
four- and five-year old children is a commitment to the children of the
province to provide a solid foundation for student success throughout their
school years. It is the right service to provide for children and their
families.
    OPSBA supports this important initiative and believes that school
districts must work together and in partnership with the relevant ministries,
the early childhood education community and municipalities in the planning
process to ensure that the program delivery model and implementation strategy
are responsive to the diverse needs of children and families and take into
account the range of circumstances in school districts across the province.
    In June 2008, OPSBA developed and consulted with Dr. Pascal on the
Association's Discussion Paper on Full-time Early Learning. OPSBA stressed
that the filter for every decision related to full-time early learning must be
"is this the best solution for children?" We are heartened to learn that many
of the recommendations made by OPSBA appear in With Our Best Future in Mind
report including those involving the education of First Nation, Inuit and
Métis children.
http://www.opsba.org/index.php?q=what_we_do/advocacy_and_action/kindergarten
    OPSBA will continue to examine the many considerations to be addressed in
developing an implementation plan for the Full-time Early Learning initiative
with our member boards. The issues are complex and flexibility in options and
timing of implementation is essential. We are a province of diverse
communities with a broad range of demographic factors and socio-economic
pressures. What we have in common is a commitment to opportunities for
children.
    "Full-time Early Learning is a foundation that will give children
opportunities not just in their early years but throughout their life cycle,"
said OPSBA president Colleen Schenk.





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For further information: Jeff Sprang, Communications, (416) 340-2540


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