Manitoba Liberals would introduce full-day kindergarten if elected
Rollout would cost at least $50M and take 5 years, says Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari
Manitoba Liberals say they will introduce full-day kindergarten for all children in the province if they are elected April 19.
Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari made the announcement Wednesday.
"We recognize very well that parents have been advocating for this for years," said Bokhari.
Full-day kindergarten would save Manitoba money because it would reduce reliance on daycare and improve workplace productivity for parents, the Liberal leader said.
The program would cost at least $50 million to implement, said Bokhari. The amount covers administration and staff costs but no potential capital or infrastructure costs, she said. It would be taken from general revenues, she said.
School divisions have and will continue to be consulted if the Liberal plan moves ahead, she said. The rollout for universal full-day kindergarten would take five years.
"Full-time kindergarten is a big investment, a big investment in our children, our future. It has to be done," said Bokhari.
The Liberal leader claimed children who attend full-day kindergarten end up doing better in school later but could not say which studies showed this to be true.
About 40 schools in Manitoba offer full-day kindergarten. The Winnipeg School Division had planned to expand all-day kindergarten to five schools this fall, but two of the classes were cancelled due to an unexpected drop in commercial property tax revenue.
Ontario implemented full-day kindergarten for all children in the provincial school system in 2014.
With files from Angela Johnston and Nelly Gonzalez