Winnipeg School Division nixing all-day kindergarten next year
Pilot program started in 2013 and included 11 schools
Manitoba's largest school division will no longer have any full-day kindergarten next year.
The Winnipeg School Division is ending a nearly eight-year-long pilot program that brought full-day kindergarten to 11 of its schools.
Students currently enrolled in full-day kindergarten for the 2021-22 school year won't be affected, a news release from the division says.
Half-day kindergarten is offered at all the division's schools, either in the morning or afternoon, for 2½ hours. Full-day kindergarten is three hours in the morning, with an hour lunch break, followed by 2½ hours in the afternoon.
The pilot started in 2013 with four schools and later expanded to 11, with the intention of studying whether students would benefit from a longer school day. The study used report card data, provincial English and math skills evaluations, school attendance data and parent surveys, among other tools, to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
Early in the study, results suggested full-day kindergarten students were benefiting from more time in the classroom. Specifically, they were more prepared for a full day in school and were more engaged in the classroom, said Celia Caetano-Gomes, the division's superintendent of education.
However, before the end of Grade 2, the half-day kindergarten students had achieved the early gains of full-day kindergarten students, and there were no impacts on academic performance in later years and no sustained growth improvements, she said.
"There was a benefit at the beginning of Grade 1 that the students were showing higher engagement, more readiness to be learners in schools," Caetano-Gomes said in an interview with CBC.
"But it was not sustained over time, and it did not have the benefit on students learning and academic performance that was expected."
The study was focused on academic performance and didn't explore the potential social or economic benefits, Caetano-Gomes said.
For parents who might be concerned about child care if full-day kindergarten is no longer an option, she said the division still offers a half-day nursery school program they can enrol their child in.
Schools in the Winnipeg School Division offering full-day kindergarten until June 2022 include John M. King, Norquay, Strathcona, Wellington, Harrow, Fort Rouge, Earl Grey, Mulvey, Shaughnessy Park, Lord Selkirk and William Whyte.
With files from Meaghan Ketcheson