Ontario introduced and began implementing full-day kindergarten in the public school system for 4 and 5 year olds in 2010. As of fall 2014 the program was fully implemented across the province.
With the introduction of full-day kindergarten, Ontario school boards are also now required to provide before- and after-school programs for full-day kindergarten students at schools where there is interest from the families of at least 20 children. These extended-day programs may be provided by the school board or through third-party operators that have an arrangement with the school board. Third-party operators are typically community based child care centres located in or near the school. The provision of these extended-day programs varies across, and sometimes within, school boards.
RECEs are part of the teaching team that consists of one RECE and one Ontario certified teacher (OCT) in full-day kindergarten. In the full-day kindergarten teaching team the RECE is referred to as the Designated ECE or DECE. DECEs are also the lead professionals in the extended-day programs for full-day kindergarten.
DECEs working in full day kindergarten are employees of the school board within which they work and work in accordance with the Ontario Education Act and regulations. The Act defines “early childhood educator” as a member of the College of Early Childhood Educators.
The Education Act outlines the overarching guidelines and rules for Ontario’s public education school boards and everything and everyone contained within. DECEs and OCTs have a ‘duty to cooperate’ and work together to deliver the full-day kindergarten program in Ontario public school.
The Kindergarten Program (2016) sets out what four- and five-year-olds across the province will learn in Ontario’s two-year Kindergarten program. It also describes how educators will help children learn through play and inquiry. Based on the most up-to-date information about child development and how children learn best, the Kindergarten program provides a smooth transition from home or child care settings and a strong foundation for learning in the years to come.
In conjunction with the Kindergarten program, the ministry has released a policy document Growing Success – The Kindergarten Addendum: Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting in Ontario Schools, 2016.
The extended-day program is complementary to the core school day, provides a seamless learning experience for children, and aligns with the Ministry of Education's How Does Learning Happen? Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years. an integral part of the Full-Day Early Learning-Kindergarten program. It is offered by teams of registered early childhood educators before and after the core day program.