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OISE study: Children in full-day kindergarten still ahead


Two years after implementing full-day early learning/kindergarten (FDELK) in Peel Region schools, a University of Toronto study has found that FDELK children were ahead of their peers who attended half-day kindergarten in subjects such as vocabulary, early literacy, number knowledge and parent ratings of their child’s readiness for elementary school. The study is being carried out over time from Junior Kindergarten/Senior Kindergarten until children are in Grade 3. Year 2 results replicated many of the positive findings from the program’s first year.

“The research was designed to examine longitudinally the benefits of full-day early learning/kindergarten. After two years of implementation of FDELK in Peel, our research results show that children who have moved into the next grade continue to benefit from having attended the full-day program, particularly in the area of language development, but in other areas as well," said OISE professor and principal investigator Janette Pelletier. 

The key findings of Year 2 show that children in both the younger cohort (Junior Kindergarten to Senior Kindergarten) and older cohort (Senior Kindergarten to Grade 1) in FDELK remain ahead of children in the control group in vocabulary, early reading and writing, and number knowledge. In drawing, FEDLK children drew more examples of “play” and mentioned play specifically in their description of their drawings, or mentioned friends more often in their narrative.

“We will be continuing to gather data on children’s experiences and outcomes in order to examine the longer-term trajectories. Our findings related to the staff team of early childhood educator and kindergarten teacher show that the educator team and the program itself continue to become more integrated, with greater shared understanding and sense of mission about children and families,” says Pelletier.

This study extends Pelletier’s longitudinal analysis of Peel’s Best Start Program, in which child care, kindergarten and parenting support are integrated into a full-day program for children. The Best Start study builds on previous work of the Toronto First Duty project, and in 2010, expanded to include full-day early learning/kindergarten (FDELK).

Read the full report.