Peter Baklinski

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Pro-family think tank questions Ontario study showing benefit of full-day kindergarten

Peter Baklinski
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OTTAWA, September 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While champions of early child-education are celebrating the partial release of a government study claiming short-term benefits of full-day kindergarten, a pro-family think tank says multiple long-term studies show no such benefit. Instead, pro-family activists believe the government is using earlier childhood education to undermine parental rights.

Andrea Mrozek, executive director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC), criticized the Ontario government for releasing partial conclusions from the study, without releasing the actual study itself.

“This is not accountable or transparent on the part of the Ministry of Education,” she said in a press release on Tuesday.

The Ontario government, partnering with Queen's and McMaster universities, studied the effectiveness of full-day kindergarten (FDK) over a two year period, 2010-2012. Data was collected from 700 children participating in the study.

The government stated that the study showed students in FDK were “better prepared” than children without FDK to “enter Grade 1 and to be more successful in school.”

The complete study is expected to be fully released in October.

The IMFC noted that while short-term studies have shown improved cognitive outcomes for children participating in early learning programs, long-term studies paint a different picture.

A number of significant studies indicate that early learning does not boost, and sometimes hinders, children’s development in the long-term.

A 2008 six-year longitudinal study commissioned by the Edmonton Public School Board found that FDK offered “diminishing academic returns”.

“Starting with the grade four school year HLAT [Highest Level of Achievement Test] results, it is clear that any advantage offered to children by their full-day kindergarten experience was vastly reduced,” the study found. "[F]ull-day kindergarten cannot be expected to support children’s learning throughout their educational careers.”

A six-year comparison study of almost 35,000 children, conducted in 2007 by Durham University’s Curriculum, Evaluation and Management Centre found no change in developmental levels of pupils entering primary school after having gone through early childhood curriculum when compared to children who had not gone through such programs.

A 2005 study of 14,000 U.S. preschool children from University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University found that preschool has a negative effect on a child’s social and emotional development. Researchers called their conclusions “worrisome,” finding that the earlier a child enters preschool, the slower is his or her pace of social development.

The report comes at a time when the provincial government is making a push to have FDK available in all schools by next September. Former Premier Dalton McGuinty announced the FDK plan in 2010, with expectations for it to be fully rolled out by 2015.

Pro-family leaders have criticized the governmental push for earlier and earlier child education as a state takeover of parenting.

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When Alberta pushed for government mandated full-day kindergarten last year, Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of Canada Family Action, called it a “violation of the rights of parents”.

“This is a deceptive way" for the elite "to prevent parents from teaching foundational principles of family, religion, and socialization,” he said.

Classical Greek philosopher Plato held that state takeover of parenting was essential for controlling the populace. In Plato’s vision of a Republic, children in their “earliest years” — when they are “most pliable” —  must be spoon-fed government-crafted narratives by which they form their opinions and their lives.

“[W]hat [the child] takes into his opinions at that age has a tendency to become hard to eradicate and unchangeable,” Plato taught.

Since the mid 1990s, homosexual activists have worked unceasingly to change public perception of their lifestyle by redefining the next generation’s view of homosexuality, beginning with youngsters in kindergarten. Homosexual activist Jaki Williams with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has said that during kindergarten, children are “developing their superego,” and “that’s when the saturation process needs to begin.”

Ontario’s FDK program apparently marches to the beat of GLSEN’s drum.

According to the FDK program, Ontario children are to be taught that “diversity is valued,” and that “all members of the school community [are to] feel safe, comfortable, and accepted."

The child’s “Personal and Social Development area of learning” is to include a “focus on sexist, racist, and homophobic behaviour, in age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate ways."

The FDK curriculum moreover is to teach children what the program calls “healthy and respectful relationships."

Children will begin to understand concepts of “equality, fairness, tolerance, and justice,” but “in relation to the treatment of minority groups," including those with “diverse family structures."

The program demands that teachers raise the “comfort level” of “same-sex parents” as a “prerequisite to involving them in the program."

With the provincial government going to great lengths to tout the benefits of FDK with its self-commissioned study, parents are left to wonder how long the program will remain optional. 

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