Hot! Poor kids benefit [all-day kindergarten]

CalgaryHerald.com – Business/Letters – Re: “All-day kindergarten isn’t our No. 1 priority,” David Marsden, Opinion, Jan. 14.
January 15, 2014.   By Joe Ceci

There are developmental benefits for the child, but there are also measurable benefits for parents and government coffers. The $200 million proposed for full-day kindergarten is an investment, not an expense. Investments such as these will save all taxpayers in the long term.

David Marsden recognizes some benefit for the child enrolled in full-day kindergarten, but dismisses it as short-term and theorizes that children can’t stay engaged for the full day.

Studies have shown that early learning, including full-day kindergarten, is critical for a child’s growth. For children living in poverty, full-day kindergarten can accelerate early development through stimulating experiences that may be unavailable at home due to poverty’s daily stresses.

For poor families, full-day kindergarten may allow a second parent to work. It will also reduce daycare that regularly costs over $1,000 per month in Calgary. That additional income is significant for people living at or below the poverty line.

Poverty Costs, a 2012 report produced by two Calgary organizations, estimated that poverty costs Alberta taxpayers between $7.1 billion and $9.5 billion per year, but that by investing in prevention programs, such as early learning and care, we can reduce these costs by half initially.

Joe Ceci

Calgary

Joe Ceci, a former Calgary alderman, is co-ordinator of Action to End Poverty in Alberta.

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