Starting in September, nearly 600 schools in districts across Ontario will offer full day kindergarten for 4-and 5-year-olds. Alberta will offer it in 18 Calgary Board of Education schools and 22 Calgary Catholic School District schools. And in British Columbia, full day kindergarten begins for approximately 50 per cent of 5-year-olds.
On August 31st, BC's Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid said via teleconference that conversations are ongoing with the Ministry of Children and Family Development about kindergarten for 3-and 4-year-olds.
Over the past few years I've asked a number of kindergarten teachers: "When reviewing your class in June, are there any children you feel are not developmentally ready for Grade 1?" Responses from teachers typically range from zero to four children, depending on the class. But in the current educational climate, it's extremely rare for a child in Canada or the U.S. to repeat kindergarten.
In his web article, We Can Do Better By Boys, Biddulph writes: "In English-speaking countries, boys make up more than 80% of all remedial classes. In Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and many other countries where school [Grade 1] does not begin until age seven, this gender gap in literacy does not exist...hence the idea of boys delaying starting school till they are at least six. It can mean a choice between your son being one of the youngest in his class, feeling inadequate, being the least able, or being one of the most co-ordinated and confident by waiting and starting the following year - and having this remain so all the way through school. Professor Kathy Sylva at Oxford University recently reported findings that starting school too soon creates a failure mentality, while kindergarten - which used to be a year of play, activity, and social learning - has succumbed more and more to pressure for skills learning. This compounds the problem."