Get kids into school at age 2; study says children and the economy would benefit

The Canadian Press ~ staff The Cape Breton Post
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Early childhood education

An early childhood education study is recommending publicly funded preschool education for all Canadian kids beginning at age two.

The report - authored by Margaret McCain, Dr. Fraser Mustard, who died last week, and Kerry McCuaig - is the third in a trio of reports on the state of early childhood learning.

Their study provides the social, economic and scientific rationale for public investment in young children and recommends that all children be entitled to an early education from age two.

The Early Years Study 3 - released Tuesday in Toronto and Montreal - says getting kids into education earlier would benefit the children and the country.

For children, the study says early education results in improved school readiness, graduation levels, future earnings and health.

The economy would benefit because affordable, available child care would allow women to work, shorten their stay out of the labour market following childbirth and permit them to move from part-time to full-time work.

Quebec is a national leader in early childhood policy development according to the study's Early Childhood Education Index, followed by Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Ontario.

The index ranks about 20 variables covering integrated governance, funding, access, learning environment and accountability.

Quebec is a national leader in early childhood policy development according to the study's Early Childhood Education Index, followed by Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Ontario.

"We take away the advice that we get from experts like Dr. Mustard and see how we can continually improve our education system," said Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten.

"Right now, our focus is the rollout of a historic change in terms of kindergarten - four- and five-year-olds in full-time school," Broten said.

Ontario recently introduced full-day kindergarten for those age groups, a move inspired by Mustard's work.

The study said more children are involved in early education than ever before.

However, it noted the split between oversight and delivery still requires too many parents to piece together arrangements to cover their work schedules.

"The results are stressful for children and parents alike, but also negate the wonderful payback that comes from delivering early education in a way that simultaneously supports children's learning and their parents' work," it said.

University of Quebec at Montreal economist Pierre Fortin said the return on investment from early childhood initiatives is enormous.

"In fact, the cost-benefit ratio of this type of investment far outstrips that of investments in primary, secondary or college education," Fortin said.


Geographic location: Montreal, Ontario, Quebec Toronto Prince Edward Island Manitoba

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Recent comments

  • al fredd c
    November 23, 2011 - 15:39

    intobed is absolutely right, - make money for the 1%, - which is what it is in the end, - the contend of this article borders on suggestions for child abuse, - a young child needs bonding, care and love, - it is bad enoughj as it is, - the near epidemic of attention deficit disorder is the result of children being depraved of peace and love - would be great to create more of that, --- of course it create jobs and 'growth' needing more people to work in retilin factories to dope up the kids- are we really so far away from humanity/caring that garbage like tha article get any attention at all, - or are already on the road to such healtless world, -- one wonders

  • Let's go for it
    November 23, 2011 - 15:20

    If kids had an extra couple of years education we may be able to rid ourselves of religion and anti-abortionists.

  • Townie
    November 23, 2011 - 07:41

    Children of single parents/dual working parents are in daycare from age two on. To those of you shouting that the children should stay home, well I wish I could stay home with my child, but I need to feed/cloth them so that means working. A more structured environment for SOME children would be beneficial for those children. Some children at that age thrive on drinking in new knowledge, some are more interested in working things out and learning on their own time while others are more social butterflies. The environment would need to be set up in such a manner that it works with the personality of the child. There is a private school in several locations on the island that does just that.

  • Andrew
    November 23, 2011 - 06:59

    I have an idea, what about just taking the protocol the Soviets used to use. After birth the government can take control of your kids and you can go to work in Alberta. Sure would be great for the kids. This is where feminism and communism meet. Communists want the state to do everything, and feminists want mothers to do nothing. I bet CBC broke this story.

    • Ann
      November 23, 2011 - 15:17

      I agree with you Andrew! When do kids get to be kids & just play????

    November 23, 2011 - 00:14

    P.S. Sometimes, the things children learn from their parents can be detrimental to their child's well being!!!!!!! My point is, not all parents are good parents. In some cases, it's better, for the child to have positive influences at an early age while their personalties are still forming/developing, then to be cared for by a parent or babysitter that has no time for the child, neglects or abuses them. There are more and more child abuse cases in this world, than you can imagine, some happening in our own backyeards. Let me also say,. it is a parent's responsibility to prepare their child for school; to teach them the fundamental basics and not the teachers, when they enter Kindergarden at age 5 - so perhaps a publicly funded pre-school would be a better alternative for children that are not having their intellectual, social & emotional needs met at home. I believe if more people focused on the needs of their children at any early age and created a loving, caring, stimulating, healthy home environment,, where all their needs were being met - you would see fewer adults walking around as "wounded children" with addictions and mental health issues. Just sayin.....P.S. I recently encountered an 18 year old high school graduate, who was unable to give change back from a $20 bill. Now, that's sad.

    • Island Atheist
      November 23, 2011 - 15:23

      Like all the God stuf. The sooner kids are secularized the better for all of us.

  • good idea
    November 22, 2011 - 21:51

    As a parent of a small child myself I think this is a great opportunity for children and parents as well as for job creation.

  • A L
    November 22, 2011 - 21:04

    They should just add a daycare wing on to maternity wards in the hospitals. Once mom is discharged, just ship the baby across the hallway. At what point are we going to allow our children to actually enjoy being children?? This is the first generation where all children attend kindergarten, let alone pre-K & preschool, but somehow, we still managed to have a group of Baby Boomers who have been educated enough to become doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, etc... Perhaps we should go back to the way things were done when those people were being raised - a stay at home parent! Maybe instead of publicly funded preschool for 2yr olds, let's try encouraging parents to raise their own kids by having some financial incentives?!?

  • Joe Blow
    November 22, 2011 - 21:00

    I'd much rather home-school than to put my kid in PEI's school system at age 2!!! 5 years old is young enough for putting kids in school....2 years old is just idiotic!! Kids need to develop their own personalities from what they learn from their parents until about age 4 or 5....putting them in school at age 2 isn't going to teach them anything and is just going to turn kids into robots of the school system. If anything....give parents the proper tools to teach their kids at home if they think learning at an early age is so important....don't take babies away from their parents and put them in school. What a joke!!!

    • marie
      November 23, 2011 - 15:19

      Well said Joe blow!!!

  • Kevin
    November 22, 2011 - 20:28

    This is farcical. Toddlers need their parents, not being warehoused. Oops, I mean "educated." This sorry excuse for scholarship is only meant to soothe the consciences of those who regard their kids as obstacles to material prosperity.

    November 22, 2011 - 20:18

    I believe it would give a child an opportunity to socialize and devevlop skills prior to Senior Kindergarden. In Ontario, they have Junior Kindergarden and have for over 50+ years. A child must be 4 years of age before the 31st of December to qualify for Jr K.

  • voter
    November 22, 2011 - 19:43

    his has got to be the winner of the--------------------------------------------------------------- ALL TIME IDIOTIC THOUGHT PROCESS AWARD----------------------------------- What inhumanity in the search for money !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! some of the best educated people i know are also the unhappiest -void of feelings, strength and common sense

  • intobed
    November 22, 2011 - 19:03

    So what is next? Give up your baby to the state at birth? So you (the parents) can go back to work and make money for the top 1% who own the corporations and run the government? This article just plain concerns me.