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Resources > Topics > Seamless Day Schools

Resources on Seamless Day Schools


The implementation of full-day early learning in Ontario is a significant first step toward a fully integrated vision of early learning outlined in the report With Our Best Future in Mind. The introduction of Bill 242, the Education Act amendment, enabled more than 50,000 children in Ontario to access a publicly-funded full-day early learning program with a legislated team-teaching model that brings together the expertise of early childhood educators and teachers working together.

The report on full day early learning, envisioned family-friendly schools where, “hours after the last bell has rung the school is still buzzing. Parents come and go, picking up children who have participated in extended programming.  There are recreational, arts, and social activities and homework clubs for the children, and a concurrent parenting program is running.” Instead of constructing a new program from scratch, the plan was to build on the structures already present in publicly funded schools. The learning revolution began with full day kindergarten but it has stalled there.  The full service, year-round school concept is on the back burner and with no transition plan in place, child care programs are floundering. However, some school boards are demonstrating leadership in implementing seamless day school programs.

The Atkinson Centre will continue to monitor, highlight research findings and engage the early learning community in policy discussions to ensure that information is accessible and available to educators, community leaders and parents.

Schools at the Centre of the Community: A Case Study of Seamless Early Learning (pdf)
Source: Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development, January 2014

Presented to the Atkinson Centre Early Years Task Force at their January 29, 2014 meeting, and the June 12, 2014 Summer Institute, this pdf outlines the Research Project Schools at the Centre of the Community being headed up by Zeenat Janmohamed, Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development.

  • To monitor updates on the study please see the Schools at the Centre Study page

Atkinson Letter: Modernizing the Early Years (pdf)
Source: Atkinson Charitable Foundation, June 2012

The Atkinson Letter (AL) spoke to selected innovators to gather their ideas about the next steps in early childhood programming. Nancy Dickieson is the Director of Children’s Services for the Region of Waterloo; Tony Diniz is the Executive Director of the Child Development Institute in Toronto; Karen Gray is the Director of Service System Planning and Policy Development in the Children’s Services Division at the City of Toronto; Lois Mahon is the Executive Director of Child Care Resources in Sudbury and is the President of the College of Early Childhood Educators; and Patricia Chorney Rubin is the Director of the School of Early Childhood and Communi ty Services at George Brown College in Toronto. From their comments the AL has formulated a number of proposals to help stimulate the discussion around new policy directions.


Family-Friendly Schools Spell Success! (pdf)
Source: Atkinson Charitable Foundation, October 2011

The Atkinson Centre talks to four trailblazers in two Ontario communities who are showing how school boards can offer full day, seamless programming for kindergarten and school-aged children.  A school trustee, a school superintendent, an early learning coordinator and the director of a large non profit agency discuss the benefits of school operated programs for children, families and educators and the tools they use to create family friendly schools.


Seamless Day Schools (video)
Source: Atkinson Early Years Task Force, 2011

The Atkinson Centre is pleased to release 'Seamless Day Schools, a film that documents a  full day of learning and play for children in Waterloo. Seamless day schools mean we are finally getting it right when it comes to meeting the learning needs of children and the work/family balance of parents. Board operated programs can be made available in every neighbourhood for every family. "The long-term implications of early intervention that this program provides will be altering for our society.  This is almost the most important thing we have ever done to improve student outcomes." (Mary Lou Mackie, Executive Superintendant, Waterloo Region District School Board)

Also available with French subtitles: "Le Centre Atkinson a le plaisir de publier «Une journée sans coupure», un film qui documente une pleine journée d'apprentissage axée sur le jeu à Waterloo. Une journée sans coupure signifie que nous rencontrons finalement les besoins d'apprentissage des enfants et des familles pour bien balancer les exigences travail/famille des parents. Des programmes exploités par le Conseil Scolaire peuvent être mis à disposition dans chaque quartier pour toutes les familles."

Link to French video>


Early Childhood Education and Care Systems: Issue of Tradition and Governance (pdf)
Source: Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, 2011

The series of policy analyses carried out by the OECD Education Directorate from 1998-2006 show that the organization of early childhood systems is extremely varied across the rich countries. Yet, distinctive patterns of governance emerge from this diversity.1,2 The following text will briefly describe two traditional approaches to system governance, namely, through integrated (one ministry or agency in charge) or split management. The adoption of one or other approach says much about how early childhood is understood in a country, and the relative value given by governments to policy-making, funding and regulation in this field.


Benefits of Full-day Kindergarten (video)
Source: Boys and Girls Club of Kawartha Lakes, November 8, 2010

Producer Heather McCullough of the Boys and Girls Club of Kawartha Lakes interviews Trillium Lakelands DSB Curriculum Consultant Stephanie Vohra about the benefits of full-day kindergarten during a segment at Parkview Public School in Lindsay.



All-Day Kindergarten Comes to Ontario
Source: Professional Speaking magazine (Ontario College of Teachers), 2010

Excerpt: ""I know he’s a guinea pig," says Hart of her son. "There is going to be a major learning curve here." With her mixed emotions Hart is in good company. Amid public enthusiasm and stacks of Canadian and international research on the value of early learning to get youngsters off to a good start in life, parents, teachers, early childhood educators, principals, school board administrators and trustees all find themselves on a learning curve this school year."


Early Learning in Ontario
Source: Ontario Ministry of Education, 2009

Ontario will provide a full day of learning to four- and five-year-olds as part of the province's plan to build a stronger school system and a well-educated workforce. The program will be phased-in over time, starting September 2010.

With Our Best Future in Mind

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Implementing Early Learning in Ontario: Curriculum & Staffing (pdf)
Source: Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development, 2009

Research from Toronto First Duty and Peel Best Start presented by Janette Pelletier & Zeenat Janmohamed at the School of Public Policy.


Revisiting the Integration Network (pdf)
Source: Institute of Child Study, 2006

The Integration Network Project was established to address one of the critical issues in the development of Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada today: the abrupt division for kindergarten-age children between “care” programs in child care centres and “education” in public kindergarten. The Project’s focus was on seeking effective solutions to the problems and issues facing parents of kindergarten-age children. These Policy Papers start with a vision of a non-fragmented and unified system. This vision piece describes how the system would look if we imagine that by 2010 programs have been revolutionized across the country and enjoy high levels of public support. The similarities between the Integration Network’s recommendations and the new Early Learning Advisor report are striking.

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