Full-day nursery and kindergarten pitched for Winnipeg
A Winnipeg School Division trustee wants to see children attending full-day nursery as well as full-day kindergarten classes, saying it would help kids do better once they hit the grade levels.
Mark Wasyliw has tabled a motion for the division, which currently offers half-day nursery and kindergarten, to look into the idea.
“At the Winnipeg School Divison we have a lot of children who live in poverty and come to our school with some significant problems,” said Wasyliw.
He said studies out of Ontario have show children who have full-day classes starting at age four do better when they reach Grade 1.
"I mean, we're not talking about, you know, heavy desk-learning here. This is sort of play-based learning for two years before you get into a regular classroom setting," Wasyliw said.
"We have kids showing up at our door that know 30 words total. I mean, that's who we get in some parts of our division and this program is going to help them the most."
Winnipeg parent Wendy Pearce is in favour of the idea because it would alleviate difficulties finding child care and help with the costs.
“It can be really hard when you’re trying to re-enter the workforce let’s say as a single mother, you know what I mean?” said Pearce.
But Winnipeg grandparent Penny Rowluk isn’t sold on the idea, especially all-day nursery school.
“I don’t think a lot of kids are ready for that because they’re still little kids,” she said.
Provincial officials said they aren’t in favour of the idea at this point because the province is focused on decreasing class sizes.
That means finding the cash to do move to full-day kindergarten and nursery school would be a challenge for schools.
Half-day nursery programs already cost the school division $6 million per year, and if the program were approved, Wasyliw says property taxes would likely have to go up.
Wasyliw wants the school board to look into the cost and how to deal with space issues if such a program were in place.
“Unless the province helps us with this, then we would either have to cut programs elsewhere to find money or raise taxes,” he said.
The school board will look at the proposal at the next school trustees meeting on Oct. 7.