Monday, 22 August 2016

Ontario's New Kindergarten Program Document

Play nourishes every aspect of children’s development. ... Play develops the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life. It “paves the way for learning”. 

(Canadian Council on Learning, 2006, p. 2) 

In Ontario, we have a new Kindergarten program document (curriculum). I’m so excited the focus has shifted to a child-first perspective. Our classroom will continue to use this perspective along with the new program document to develop an environment with rich learning opportunities for all our learners. 

We run a play-based program. For those of you unfamiliar with what that looks like here are 5 key principles for this type of program (taken straight from the new program document).

1. Play is recognized as a child’s right, and it is essential to the child’s optimal development 
       Play is essential to the development of children’s cognitive, physical, social and
       emotional well-being.

2. All children are viewed as competent, curious, capable of complex thinking and rich in potential and experience.

3. A natural curiosity and a desire to explore, play and inquire are the primary drivers of learning among young children.

4. The learning environment plays a key role in what and how a child learns. 

Providing materials to support independence for our learners.
Our learners are responsible for their daily writing everyday.
Colour coded writing materials allows for independence.

5. In play-based learning programs assessment supports the child’s learning and autonomy as a learner.
       We strive to make learners ‘thinking visible’ through photos, conversations and  work 

Using technology (educators & learners)
Recording conversations

The new document breaks down learning into four frames:
- Belonging and contributing 
- Problem solving and innovating
- Demonstrating literacy and mathematics behaviours 
- Self-regulation and well-being

One aspect of this new document is outdoor learning. For our returning families you know how much we love outdoor learning in Room 122! Being outdoors is vital for children’s development. “connecting to the natural world contributes to children’s mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being (Louv, 2005). Children’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder can be fostered by providing them with many opportunities to learn outdoors.”

Check out the new program document here.

Looking forward to a year of great thinking and learning alongside you and your children!