School Trustee replies to ‘before-and-after’ school program issue
(Ed. The Philppine Reporter asked for the Trustees’ side on the kinder kids issue)
Hello Ms Garcia,
It was a pleasure talking with you yesterday, below is my comment which you are free to publish in your paper this week. I have confirmed with Marilyn that this covers the major work which has occurred / will occur -
The day care business model has been enormously impacted by the Ontario government’s introduction of Full-Day Kindergarten. Before-and-after-school day care programs that once existed, are not necessarily there now. This is a city-wide issue, that crosses over many communities regardless of language, culture or ethnicity.
I intend to ensure that our board works towards solutions to address the problem with the province and our early childcare partners as this is affecting so many families. In addition, as the mother of a five-year-old boy in senior kindergarten at the TCDSB, I can relate personally to this issue. My son’s school does not have a before-and-after-school program; but thankfully we were able to find space with a local Catholic provider.
Each year, for the past three years, Our Lady of Lourdes has taken a survey of parents of JK/SK students as these are the only families who do not already have access to free and/or subsidized after-school care. The board-wide guideline is that when there are 20 positive parents responses, third-party operators are identified to open the programs. 20 families are needed to make it financially sustainable for the provider – without that number, providers will not sign-on. This minimum was not met in the last three surveys. Our Lady of Lourdes JK/SK families will again be asked this month whether they desire a program. If 20 parents respond positively, the program will be brought into the school.
Ms Nazar is working with TCDSB Community Relations to communicate with all parents to make sure everyone clearly understands what is being asked, so that the true level of need at the school may be understood. In the meantime, both the City and local day-care providers have already been contacted by Ms Nazar and Ms Rodrigues-Wright, to begin investigating a program at Our Lady of Lourdes school. Given the work and approvals required, it could take 2 to 3 months; but, if there is a need, a before-and-after-school program will be brought into the school.
TCDSB Trustee, Ward 9
St Paul’s, Toronto-Centre, Trinity Spadin