Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Internet posting summary – Sept 27 to Oct 1, 2010

Following is a summary of Internet postings on the topic of Full Day Early Learning in Ontario for the week of September27, 2010 to October 1, 2010.

Source of Internet postings









Key Issues raised (see details below):

1. Ottawa Public School board adding additional Full Day Kindergarten classrooms

2. Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare sells Full Day Early Learning best practice document

3. Poll shows respondents in favour of Full Day Early Learning

1. Two additional Full Day Kindergarten classrooms added.

· Necessary to cope with higher than expected enrolment. This is the second time additional classrooms have been added this year. Class sizes were between 30-34 students before additional rooms were added.

· Extra rooms expected to cost approximately $300 000.

2. The document outlines best practice for Ontario’s early learning program.

· Designed to assist principals, teachers and ECE’s in the operations of full day kindergarten and before and after care.

· Has sections on role of staff members, program review and implantation, goals etc. (see references for link to page of contents)

3. A Toronto Star-Angus Reid survey posed the question, “Is full day kindergarten the right or the wrong thing to do?”

· 66% of Ontarians polled answered it is right.

· In the same survey, 29% of decided voters would vote of Dalton McGuinty while 41% of decided voters would vote for Tim Hudak


· Article discussing the decreasing power of school trustees. The article uses Full Day Early Learning as an example of government determining curriculum at the exclusion of individual boards curriculum decisions

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Regulations to Support Full Day Early Learning

On August 18th, Jim Grieve, Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Education, issued EL10. The memo pertains to the proclamation of outstanding legislative amendments under the Act (Bill 242) that came into effect August 16th and to further regulatory provisions that have been filed.

This blog entry reflect the technical content of EL10. Notwithstanding this, there are a number of issues raised that may be of significance to those in the field of early learning and care.



Proclamation of Section 21

Section 21, which pertains to the reporting between boards and the College of Early Childhood Educators, was exempted from the proclamation of the Full Day Early Learning Statue Law Amendment Act, 2010 in June and has come into force on August 16th. As a result boards must report investigations into professional misconduct by registered early childhood educators, to the College of Early Childhood educators. The same reporting requirement exists between boards and the Ontario College of Teacher's in regards to teacher's conduct.

Section 21 also grants authority to the government regarding performance appraisal and induction of early childhood educators. This is pending development of a provincial framework for appraisal and induction. In the interim boards may use their discretion in this matter.

This demonstrates equity between the way in which registered early child educators and certified teachers will be treated with respect to disciplinary procedures.

There continues to be considerable discussion about whether the intent of Bill 242 – that registered early childhood educators and certified teachers will have equally important roles within the classroom – will be manifest in reality. This is further evidence of a commitment to equity.

It will be interesting to observe the development of a provincially directed performance appraisal processes for registered early childhood educators now joining the education sector. It is hoped that if there is to be a province wide standard for R.E.C.E.s, there will also be province wide standards for teachers.

Delegation of Principals duties

As extended care will operate outside of traditional school hours, principals are permitted to delegate the supervision of extended day duties to another person, such as a "registered early childhood educator and persons designated to supervise these positions" (EL10, page 4).

This acknowledges the potential need for an increased early childhood educator presence and/or early childhood managerial staff in the operation of the extended day component of full day early learning.

It also suggests that there may be a place for existing centre supervisors.

Early Childhood Educator Letters of Permission

Under the Act, the Minister of Education is authorized to issue a letter of permission allowing a board to appoint a person who is not a member of the College of Early Childhood educators to a position designated for an early childhood educator. This can only occur when an early childhood educator has not applied to a posted position. Also, individuals appointed under a letter of permission may not hold that position in excess of four years and, if applying for subsequent letters of permission, an individual must be working towards becoming a member of the College of Early Childhood Educators.

Registered early childhood educators are recognized as having specialized skills and abilities that are integral to the success of the full day early learning program. This section recognizes that in some communities there may be too few R.E.C.E.s available to staff all the positions open.

It is important, however, that this option not be used to fill E.C.E. positions with existing board staff who, while they will certainly have other skills and abilities, are not qualified early childhood educators.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Extended day programs in 2010 in the GTA - The actual numbers

Yesterday, the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development released a report on the economic impact of full day early learning. Written by economist Robert Fairholm of the Centre for Spatial Economics, the report identifies considerable financial benefits to the province. It states that for every $1 that the province invests in full day early learning, there is a $2.42 return. However, the report also states that the full financial return is dependent upon the provision of not just the full day kindergarten component but also the extended day program.

You can find the full report on the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development website.

There was considerable take-up in the press about the report, including articles in the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.

Of note in the August 30, 2010 article in the Toronto Star by Laurie Monsebraaten, Social Justice Reporter, was the information about how few schools providing full day early learning in September 2010 will also be operating extended day programs(before- and after-school):


Public & Catholic Boards

Schools offering full day kindergarten

Schools offering before- and after-school programs




York Region



Peel Region



Halton Region



Durham Region



It is our understanding that in Peel Region the Board has entered into a contract with third party providers to operate the extended day program in the six schools where it will be available and that the Board is not operating these programs directly.

As has been discussed in previous blog entries, there are a multitude of reasons why the take-up for the extended day program has been minimal. There is every reason to anticipate that some of the inevitable glitches of implementing a program of such magnitude will be resolved as the roll-out of full day early learning proceeds. Come September 2011, there may be a significant increase in the number of schools where the extended day program is available. However, this outcome is, for now, uncertain.

In the interim, this delay in schools providing the extended day program provides the licensed child care sector with opportunities to explore how the child care sector could work collaboratively with the education sector to offer truly seamless, integrated programs for children and their families.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Subsidy Arrangements for Extended Day Care

Over the summer months a number of important announcements were made that move the introduction of full day kindergarten forward. Perhaps most significantly, the regulations regarding subsidy for the extended day (before and after school) programs have been determined and released.

This blog entry reviews the subsidy arrangements for extended day care. Please see 2010 EL 9 for further detail.

There are several key components:

  1. The subsidy system for the extended day program will be managed by local Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs). This means that school boards located within the City of Toronto will enter into a contract with the City of Toronto Children's Services Division.
  2. Children currently receiving subsidy in the licensed child care system will be able to transfer their subsidy to the extended day program. Families with children in both licensed child care and the extended day program can be subsidized in both systems.
  3. The fee subsidies for the extended day program will be 100% provincially funded unlike much of the existing subsidy system where costs are shared 80/20 between the province and municipalities. (It is interesting to note that this is the same funding model as was set for the Best Start program which is also 100% provincially funded.)
  4. To maximize the subsidy funding available, school boards are asked to set before school/after school and combined before and after school rates.
  5. Extended day programs are governed under the Education act so CMSMs are not expected to set additional quality standards or to monitor these programs in the way the licensed home and group child care programs are currently monitored in most municipalities.
  6. The per diem rate will be established on a school board by school board basis, not on a program by program basis as is the case for the licensed child care sector.
  7. Existing CMSM waiting list policies will apply to the extended day programs in those situations where the demand for subsidy exceeds the available funding. EL9 explicitly states: "A limited number of subsidies are available for eligible families." (2010 EL9, Page 1)
  8. Existing income testing requirements will apply to eligibility for the extended day programs.
  9. It is our understanding that in the City of Toronto, Children's Services Consultants are meeting to review existing kindergarten per diem rates with those programs where kindergarten age children will be attending full day kindergarten. We understand that kindergarten rates will be recalculated to a maximum of the existing preschool rates. This does not apply to many programs this year as one of the criteria in determining where the full day kindergarten program would be offered includes avoiding schools with existing child care programs either on site or close by.

It is important to note that there has been very little take-up of the extended day program by parents across the province. Recent conversations with government officials suggest that fewer than five percent of schools where full day kindergarten is being introduced will offer the extended day component. This is certainly true in the city of Toronto.

It is difficult to determine if the lack of demand for the extended day program is a consequence of delays in the release of the regulations, the projected cost of the before and after school program or the fact that parents who may have required extended day care are happy with the arrangements they already have in place.

In all likelihood, it is a combination of all three. As explored in earlier blog entries, the extended day program is to be offered on a cost recovery basis. The average per diem rate has now been projected at between $25 and$35 dollars which is historically high for before and after school care in the Toronto area.

In September 2010, 35,000 four and five year old children will begin full day kindergarten. This is approximately 15% of the all four and five year olds in the province. It appears that the vast majority of these children will continue to be cared for by a parent or relative, by an informal, unlicensed provider or in the licensed child care sector. It remains to be seen as the program rolls out over the next several years, how much progress will be made towards a seamless, truly integrated early learning and care model.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Moving forward – the impact of implementing full day early learning

Now that Bill 242, Full Day Early Learning Statute Law Amendment Act, 2010 has been proclaimed and the regulations supporting the legislation have been introduced, the impact on the licensed child care system is becoming more evident.


In what is perhaps the biggest surprise, it would appear that few of the schools offering full day early learning in September 2010 will be providing before and after school care. Furthermore, those few schools that will be providing the extended day program will be doing so only on the 188 "instructional days". In other words, no programs on Professional Development days, school holidays and during the summer break. While there are a number of reasons that the demand for the extended day component has been considerably lower than anticipated, the fact that care will not be provided year round is no doubt one of the most significant. For the majority of working parents, finding care for the approximately 72 additional days a year, will be a challenge.

The projected cost was also a barrier for families. Following the release of the regulations (See the Blog Entry for June 13, 2010) school boards were more accurately able to determine the cost of delivering the extended day component. In many boards the costs were projected at or above $30.00/day.

The Toronto District School Board has indicated that it will be offering the extended day program at only a "handful" of sites in September 2010. It is important to note that the TDSB is not alone. In the Region of Peel, the Peel Board has contracted with three 3rd party providers to offer the extended day component. In Durham Region, an existing 3rd party provider will be offering the extended day component of full day early learning. In London, the Board will also be working with 3rd party providers.

The Regulations state that 3rd party providers who are providing the extended day component include program content that is similar to the content that school boards would have provided. In other words, the program must be built on the newly released full day early learning curriculum. This provides an important opportunity for the licensed child care sector to demonstrate that the existence of two distinct operators does not preclude the provision of an integrated early learning and care program for children and their families.

As reported in an earlier blog entry, the Regulations include a two year window after which it is expected that school boards will provide the extended day component directly. At this point, it is increasingly difficult to see how this requirement will be met.

From the perspective of the licensed child care sector, it would certainly appear that there will be more time than anticipated to plan for the full implementation of full day early learning. Part of this planning may also include evaluating the impact of junior and senior kindergarten children essentially becoming "baby" school age children with respect to hours of care.

As we have said before, information is power. Upcoming entries will address the latest information about how the subsidy system will work following the roll out of full day early learning and the plans for Best Start Child and Family Centres.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Bill 242, Full Day Early Learning Statute Law Amendment Act, 2010 was proclaimed into law on June 3, 2010. The legislative basis for the introduction of the full day early learning program is now in place.

The regulations designed to support the introduction of both full day kindergarten and the extended day component of the full day early learning program were filed on June 7th and are now available publicly at http://tinyurl.com/32zuvrl. On June 8, 2010 Jim Grieve, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education, released his latest memo, EL7, to Directors of Education across the province. You can find a copy of this memo at http://tinyurl.com/34356d2.


The release of the regulations allows the licensed child care sector to more clearly determine the rules under which the extended day programs will be operated. Ratios and parent fees are now public and parents will be better able to make decisions about how to best meet their child care needs.

There are five significant components to the Regulations which will be of interest to the licensed child care sector.

  1. The regulations clarify the expectations as to when a school is required to operate the extended day program have. There is an extensive discussion related to viability and the expectation that these programs will not be operated unless they are viable:
    1. Boards are not obligated to operate the extended day program if fewer than 10 children are expected to be enrolled in either the morning or the afternoon component of the program.. However, boards may increase the numbers of children by providing up to 25% of the spaces for children in grades one and two.
    2. The ability to increase enrollment by offering spaces to children in grades one and two only exists in those schools where a third party provider is not currently providing before and after school programs.
    3. There appears to be an understanding that in those circumstances where there are fewer than 10 children enrolled, the program will not be viable even with only one staff and where fewer than 20 children are enrolled (or expected to be enrolled) then the program will not be viable with two staff.
    4. Boards are expected to determine viability looking at the before- school and the after-school components separately. That is to say that a school may provide one and not the other.
    5. Boards have the option of partnering with another school or with a coterminous board (i.e. a different board of education but in the same region) as a strategy to achieve the numbers necessary for viability.

  2. The model for the calculation of parent fees for the extended day program has been determined:
    1. Project operating costs – there is an expectation that the programs will be operated on a cost-recovery basis. This includes:
      1. Salaries of ECEs who will run the extended day program and non-ECEs if they are hired as assistants
      2. School operations costs ($.60/hour/child) which includes utilities and custodial costs (EL7: page 8)
      3. Program costs
      4. Snacks if provided
      5. Administration and fee collection costs
        1. Boards may enter into an administrative services contract with a third party prior to July 1, 2010. The third party would then be responsible for the administration of the extended day program
        2. Staff costs for board employees may be included in this calculation provided that the staff person spends at least 75% of his or her time administering the extended day program.
    2. It should be noted that, in calculating fees, boards are allowed a vacancy allowance of up to 10 percent which is more than three times that currently permitted by the City of Toronto for licensed centres with a purchase of service agreement.
    3. The boards have been told that they must calculate the fees based on operating five hours per day (before school and after school).
    4. It appears that parents will be charged at an hourly rate equal to 1/5 of the daily rate.
    5. Should a board chose to operate on non- instructional days (i.e. PD days, holidays etc) then the fees will be increased to reflect the additional hours of care provided.

  3. The adult to child ratio has been established for the extended day component.
    1. Extended day programs are to attempt to adhere to the ratio for the full day early learning program which is 1 staff to 13 children.
    2. The maximum ratio is 1 staff to 15 children or 2 staff to 30 children.
    3. It does not appear that there will be a maximum group size. If the group is larger than 30 children then an additional staff person must be hired.
    4. It is interesting to note that the maximum ratios reflect existing DNA school age ratios. They are considerable higher than the existing DNA junior kindergarten ratio of 1 to 10 and somewhat higher than the existing DNA senior kindergarten ratio of 1 to 12.

  4. The rules under which school boards may enter into agreements with third party providers for the provision of the extended day component of the full day early learning initiative have been clarified:
    1. Where boards have an existing WRITTEN agreement with a third party provider, the board itself is not required to provide the extended day component of the full day early learning program.
    2. This holds true for a transitional period only of up to two years maximum.
    3. It is interesting to note that the definition of a third party provider is a "child care operator who is licensed or authorized under the Day Nurseries Act".

      This would suggest that recreation programs currently providing services in schools will not qualify as third party providers.
    4. In circumstances where a third party provider will be the operator of the extended day program, the provider is expected to provide a program with similar content as "required for extended day programs under the Education Act". (EL7, Page 6)



As the full day early learning initiative rolls out over the next five years, the impact on the licensed child care sector will be significant. The ability to effectively manage this period of change is greatly enhanced when the rules for all parties involved are in the public domain.

With the release of the regulations, licensed centres and home child care agencies will not only be able to plan for the future more effectively, they will also be better able to provide informed, accurate information to their parents when asked.

Information is power. Knowing the rules under which the boards of education will be operating increases the ability for a licensed child care centre or home child care agency to adjust its operating model to meet the needs of its community while remaining financially viable.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Index of April and May 2010 Posts

April 8
Bill 242 – Next Steps

April 26
Bill 242 – Third reading

May 24
EL6 – Legislative Changes Under Bill 242

May 31
Transferring the responsibility for Child Care from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to the Ministry of Education – What might this mean for the licensed child care sector?