Thousands of four- and five-year-olds across Ontario will be starting all-day kindergarten for the first time today, but critics say the government still hasn’t figured out the ABCs of the ambitious program.

While the initiative is aimed at putting kids — and the province — on the path to economic prosperity, the implementation “has left quite a bit to be desired,” said Annie Kidder of the parent-led group People for Education.

Keeping kids in the classroom longer is a great step, but not all of them will reap the benefits of early learning outside school hours as the province was originally urged to do, she said.

About 600 schools in Ontario will have full-day kindergarten this fall, a program Premier Dalton McGuinty promises will be available to every child by 2015.

Each kindergarten class will include a teacher, an early childhood educator and up to 26 children, which is above the current primary class cap of 20 to 23 children.

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