Ontario’s full-day kindergarten (FDK) program has enrolled more than one million students and will save families an estimated $1 billon in child care costs by the end of this school year.
This significant milestone comes as full-day kindergarten enters its third full year. About 260,000 four- and five-year-olds are benefitting from FDK annually in approximately 3,600 schools across the province, saving families up to $6,500 per year in child care costs. FDK also makes it easier for parents to fully participate in the workforce, which helps increase opportunity and strengthen the economy.
Research shows FDK graduates are better prepared to enter Grade 1 and will be more successful in school. Overall, Grade 1 reading, writing and math scores are 5% higher for FDK students, while reading alone is 6.4% higher for FDK students.
Since its launch in 2010, Ontario has invested $1.5 billion in school boards to build or renovate FDK classrooms, making FDK one of the largest investments in education in a generation.
“Our goal is to give all children a stronger start in school and in life, we are proud of our full-day kindergarten program, and thrilled to be reaching this important milestone. This innovative program represents one of the biggest investments and transformations in our education system and the results speak for themselves. We know FDK supports the continuum of learning and better prepares our children for Grade 1.”— Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education
Giving Ontario’s children the best possible start in life is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
- Studies show that a return on public investment in early learning is at least seven to one.
- Since the introduction of FDK, licensed child care spaces for four- and five-year-old children located in schools has more than quadrupled (from 15,000 in 2011 to 74,000 in 2015).
- About 3,600 additional teaching positions and almost 10,000 early childhood educator positions have been created as a result of FDK.