Full Day Kindergarten Update
Joanne den Boer, SCSBC Director of Learning ◊
Ever since the BC provincial government announced it would begin implementation of full day kindergarten (FDK), the discussion regarding FDK has been elevated. In a very public way, the government has committed $151 million to provide the option of full day (every day) kindergarten for 50% of students starting school in September 2010. Their plan is to have 100% implementation of the full day kindergarten program by the following year, September 2011.
With the Ministry of Education moving forward with its agenda of FDK, this raises questions for our independent, Christian schools. The questions regarding FDK among our SCSBC schools are philosophical, practical, ethical, and certainly Biblical in nature.
To date, these are some facts that our schools should know as they begin the discussion of FDK with School Boards, Education Committees, administrative teams, parents, and yes, preschool and kindergarten teachers.
- FDK is defined as 1.0 FTE, all day, everyday. (eg. same number of instructional hours as Grade 1)
- Public and independent schools are invited by the Ministry of Education to submit a proposal to offer FDK by early November 2009. The Ministry will review the proposals and confirm with school authorities which schools are approved for Year One implementation.
- Schools approved for 2010 implementation must offer FDK only. Schools intending to offer full day (1.0 FTE) and half day (0.5 FTE) concurrently will not have their proposal considered.
- By September 2011, all Group 1 independent schools in BC will only be funded for FDK.
- The direction of our provincial government is to offer parents a seamless provision of learning and care (before and after school) services at school sites.
- The prescribed kindergarten curriculum is not changing. Full day kindergarten students will now have twice the time to achieve the Ministry of Education’s prescribed learning outcomes. This curriculum is also linked to the Early Learning Framework.
Some preliminary questions to guide discussion:
- How does, can, or will FDK fit with your vision and mission?
- How would expanding to a FDK influence program planning that is mindful of the needs and development of early learners?
- How might your school be affected by implementing a FDK program?
- What considerations would your school continue to give to its preschool?
The SCSBC suggests that careful consideration be given to this new Ministry initiative, so that any decisions made regarding your school’s kindergarten program is an intentional reflection of your school’s vision and mission. We are committed to assisting schools as they plan their kindergarten programs.