Feb 4, 2009

No full-time kindergarten this year


Kindergarten expansion in BC has officially been postponed to the indefinite future, reports Janet Steffenhagen on the Vancouver Sun’s education blog Report Card today, referring to an article in the Nanaimo Daily News as her source. The announcement itself is hardly surprising in light of the gloomy fiscal update delivered by the Premier earlier this week and the slow progress of the feasibility study launched last year (the Early Childhood Learning Agency still hasn’t submitted its report, which was supposed to be ready by the end of 2008).

What I find surprising is that the Vancouver Island daily was the largest provincial paper that considered the information important enough to include in its print edition. Kudos to Ms Steffenhagen for her post, but now it needs to find its way to print. The announcement could have fit right next to the “$2 billion for BC projects” stimulus headline on the top left corner of the front page, making it much more informative. “$2 billion for BC projects but no money for early childhood education.” Now, doesn’t this tell us much more about the government’s proposed stimulus plan?

Building a system of early childhood education in BC would make an excellent economic stimulus indeed. Many jobs would be created both for construction workers to build new facilities in communities where schools are already used to capacity, and for early childhood educators or teachers to then work with the children. Not to mention that the government would be investing in healthy child development, which has enormous potential payoffs.

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