Main Article Content
Early education outcomes influence children’s educational trajectories with long-term effects extending into adulthood. Aboriginal peoples face numerous systemic barriers to academic success. It remains unknown if full-day kindergarten (FDK) is associated with improved academic outcomes among Metis children – a distinct Aboriginal people recognized by the Canadian Constitution.
Objectives and Approach
The Manitoba Metis Federation and the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy partnered to identify whether FDK was associated with improved short- and long-term outcomes among Metis children. We created a cohort of Metis children by linking several provincial databases held in the Manitoba Population Research Data Repository (1998-2011). Education data were used to identify all Metis children who attended FDK (n=247) vs half day kindergarten (HDK; n=547). FDK children were matched by age and sex to children in HDK. We used a step-wedged design and applied propensity scores to adjust for measured confounding. We tested for differences in grades 3, 7, 8 outcomes and high school graduation using generalized linear models.
FDK children were more likely to live in a low-income neighbourhood. 72% FDK and 74% HDK students met or approached numeracy expectations in grade 3; and 55% FDK and 48% HDK met or approached numeracy expectations in grade 7. For reading expectations, 77% FDK and 75% HDK met or approached grade 3 reading expectations; in grade 8, 62% in each group met or approached expectations for reading and writing. High school graduation rate for FDK children was 84% and for HDK children was 64%. After adjusting for confounding we found FDK children were more likely to graduate high school than HDK children; other outcomes were non-significant.
Conclusion / Implications
Kindergarten programs may be insufficient to overcome structural barriers that Metis children face. Culturally appropriate education strategies are needed to support improved outcomes amongst this population.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.