The Kindergarten Program
Children’s early learning experiences have a profound effect on their development.
The Early Learning Kindergarten Program is designed to give your child a stronger start in school and in life by providing them with an engaging, inquiry based and play-based learning program during the regular school day.
In Kindergarten, most classes are comprised of both Year 1 and Year 2 students together (formerly Junior and Senior Kindergarten), which allows students to not only build strong bonds with each other, but with their educator team as well. Children are involved in a variety of learning opportunities to help them investigate, problem solve and collaborate, under the guidance of an educator team that includes a teacher and, if over 16 students, an early childhood educator as well.
Children arrive in Kindergarten as unique individuals at different stages of development and therefore, it is important for programs to provide a variety of learning experiences and opportunities. We know that through play-based learning and a culture of inquiry, children develop a strong foundation for learning in all areas. This includes:
- problem solving and creative thinking;
- thinking critically about ideas and information in literacy and math;
- learning to think for themselves, understanding their feelings and the feelings of those around them, recognizing and respecting differences in others, and assessing the consequences of their actions;
- understanding their connections, contributions and relationships with others as part of a group, a community, and the natural world;
- developing socially and emotionally through their relationships with other children and the educators who guide them; and
- developing as a citizen, through a sense of personal connectedness to various communities, like their class, their grade and their school.
The Kindergarten Educator Team
Classes that have 16 students or more will have a Kindergarten educator team. A Teacher and an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) work together to help young students learn during the regular school day. These educators have complementary skills that create a nurturing and stimulating learning environment to support the unique needs of each child. ECEs have knowledge of early childhood development, observation skills and assessment skills. They bring a focus on age-appropriate program planning that promotes each child’s physical, cognitive, language, emotional, social and creative development and well-being. Teachers have knowledge of the broader elementary curriculum, assessment, evaluation and reporting and child development. They are responsible for student learning, effective instruction and evaluation, and formal reporting to parents, based on the teacher-ECE team’s assessment of children’s progress. Learn more at http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/kindergarten.html)
The team members work together to plan and implement the Kindergarten program. They collaborate in observing, monitoring, and assessing the progress and development of the children in Kindergarten and in communicating with families.
The Kindergarten Program - 4 Frames
The teacher and early childhood educator are guided by the 2016 Kindergarten Program document, which is based on the most up-to-date information about child development and how children learn best. It addresses both Year 1 and Year 2 students simultaneously (there is no delineation between the grades as the document is meant to reflect developmental skills across the two years), and can be found at: https://files.ontario.ca/books/edu_the_kindergarten_program_english_aoda_web_july21.pdf
The kindergarten program is organized into four frames which include:
Belonging and Contributing - Children learn how to communicate and understand the importance of relationships with others and with the environment around them. Children’s sense of connectedness to others, to their community and to the natural world is part of this area of learning and development. Children begin to develop their sense of belonging and contributing through their relationships with their families and classroom communities;
Self-Regulation and Well-Being - Children learn about emotions and feelings and how to adapt to new situations. The goal is for children to develop an understanding of how they best focus and learn, to respect themselves and others and to promote well-being in themselves and in others. This gives them a strong foundation for life;
Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours - Through play, children develop a wide vocabulary and improve communication skills. Children demonstrate literacy behaviours as they use language, images and materials to express their thinking orally and through reading and writing. Play helps children to think critically, respect different perspectives and process various kinds of information, including mathematical thinking and reasoning. Children use mathematical thinking to make sense of the world. They see patterns, spatial relationships, measurement and quantity, and communicate their understanding of this to others. Children develop a richer vocabulary in all areas, including mathematics, which will help them communicate their thinking and reasoning with confidence, and;
Problem Solving and Innovating - Learning to think creatively, analytically and critically is important in all aspects of life. Children are naturally curious. By asking questions, testing theories, solving problems and thinking creatively, they learn to understand the world around them. Through play, exploration and inquiry, children develop their ability to innovate and problem solve.
The frames in the Kindergarten Program document are used to structure thinking about learning and assessment and reflect the way in which learning naturally occurs during children’s exploration, play and inquiry. What children learn in connection with all four frames lays the foundation for developing traits and attitudes they will need to become active, contributing, responsible citizens and healthy, engaged individuals who take responsibility for their own and others’ well-being.
Assessment, Evaluation and Report Cards
Teachers will report regularly to parents on the achievements of their children and will strive to ensure that parents understand the assessment methods used. All parents of students in Kindergarten will receive the following reports on their child’s progress throughout the year:
* Fall – Initial Observations Report
* Winter and Spring – Communication of Learning Reports
The purpose of these reports is to foster each child’s learning and development, and to support each child in becoming an independent learner. The Reports are modelled on the Four Frames of the Kindergarten Program (Belonging and Contributing, Self-Regulation and Well-Being, Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours, and Problem-Solving and Innovating). They will communicate “key learning” and “growth in learning”, and provide specific examples, and next steps to support learning at school and home. For more information on Assessment and Evaluation in the Kindergarten Program, visit: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/growingSuccessAddendum.pdf