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When Countries Value their Children
Children and the youth are the future of every nation.
It is often said that it is easy to bend a crooked tree straight at a tender age and ensure its healthy and stable progress by giving it fertile soil during its early growth stages. Children at an early stage need more than loving care. They need nurturing and the best chance to grow and contribute to nation building.They are the hope and future of every nation. So, how does Canada and its provinces fare in terms of understanding the value of its children?
Finland’s primary education program earns a top mark with its primary education program.At the age of eight months, all children have access to free, full day kindergarten and day care.Teachers and their students enjoy a free hot meal during school days. The school teachers have masters’ degree and maintain a high level of autonomy on their teaching curriculum. Emphasis is given on socialization skills and there is a minimal homework for students.This is why Finland’s primary education has the envy of many countries for many years.
Canada is admired by many countries for its many social programs and health care. In primary education, here’s how we score in terms of how we value the importance of our children according to published reports.
International organizations have long criticized Canada for its lack of coordination in early childhood care. Ranking last among developed nations in spending in that area its uncoordinated patchwork of programs that exists across the country is described by many educators a"chaotic mess."
Since 1987, Quebec’s day care is the cornerstone of the province’s early childhood education program. Full-day kindergarten is available at $7 per day for every child. Thousands are enrolled in the system and plans for an additional 20,000 spaces are in the works.
In British Columbia, half day kindergartern is the not compulsory but is the norm. However, the province has plans to scrap full-day kindergarten across B.C. in the fall of 2009 citing financial concerns.
Half-day kindergarten is the norm in Alberta, but is not mandatory. A 2003 commission recommending an all-day kindergarten be implemented province-wide has been rejected by the provincial government..
In Saskatchewan, a province which has enjoyed relative prosperity in these recessionary times, half-day kindergarten is not mandatory but is the norm. It offers pre-kindergarten for three- and four-year-olds in communities where many children have special needs and where forty per cent are indigenous communities.
Ontario’s premier announced last June that a $1 billion proposal is afoot for a consolidated day care and kindergarten program from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pupils will be taught by teams of early childhood educators and teachers.
Ontario called for a massive shake-up in children’s services that would allow parents of 4- and 5-year-olds to leave their children at school from 7:30 in the morning to 6 p.m. as part of sweeping changes bringing daycare and kindergarten under one roof, the Toronto Star reports.
Some 240,000 children are in junior or senior kindergarten classes across the province, which typically run for half the day, or 2 1/2 hours.
New Brunswick has a mandatory program for full day kindergarten for five year olds. Prince Edward Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador each have half day program for kindergarten which is not mandatory but the norm.
Manitoba which borders Ontario, has a non compulsory kindergartern program where each school district decides whether to offer part-time or full-time kindergarten programming.In Nova Scotia, there is mandatory enrollment in full-time kindergarten for all five year olds.