Teachers Applaud Launch of Canada's First Full-Day Kindergarten Program

TORONTO, Jan. 12 /CNW/ - Today's announcement of the nearly 600 schools that will begin to offer full-day kindergarten next fall is a watershed day for elementary education in Ontario, say elementary teachers.

"We commend the government for its commitment to the welfare of our young children. Investing in early education is so very important. There is no question that children will benefit, but so will society," said Sam Hammond, President, Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

"This is a watershed day for elementary education in this province," continued Hammond. "This is a concrete signal for parents and for school boards that the first full-day, every day kindergarten program in Canada supported by child care is moving forward."

ETFO has been advocating full-day kindergarten for four-and five-year olds for a number of years. In 2006, it adopted a policy urging the government to fund full-day, every-day kindergarten. In the 2007 provincial election, Premier Dalton McGuinty promised exactly that.

Hammond acknowledges there will be growing pains before the program is fully in place in 2015.

"We're still in the very early days of implementation, so many of the operational details are yet to be worked out, details like class size and class composition, and available space in schools."

Despite the challenges, Hammond says teachers are excited about the possibilities that full-day kindergarten will offer for child development and academic success.

"Our members are looking forward to working with early childhood educators, district school boards, and the Ministry of Education to make full-day kindergarten the very best it can be."

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 73,000 elementary public school teachers and education workers across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information: For further information: Sam Hammond, President, ETFO, (416) 962-3836 (Office); Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416) 962-3836 (Office), (416) 948-0195 (Cell)

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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