Media Releases

U of T study: Children in full-day kindergarten still ahead

November 28, 2012

TORONTO, ON – 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 prin­ci­pal inves­ti­ga­tor Janette Pel­leti­er, direc­tor of the Dr. Eric Jack­man Insti­tute of Child Study at the Ontario Insti­tute for Stud­ies in Edu­ca­tion.

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).

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OISE media rela­tions

Janette Pel­leti­er
Dr. Eric Jack­man Insti­tute of Child Study
Ontario Insti­tute for Stud­ies in Edu­ca­tion