On September 7, 2010, Ontario made history as Boards launched Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten in 600 schools across the province. Approximately, 35,000 four and five-year-old children benefitted from the first phase of full-day learning as part of the Province’s plan to build a stronger school system and a well-educated workforce. The Province has made a commitment to fully implement the Full Day Kindergarten Program in all schools by 2015-2016. In its’ first year of implementation in the Toronto Catholic District School Board, the Province funded 63 full-day kindergarten classrooms for 1638 students across our school system. This exciting new initiative has successfully enhanced the many learning opportunities that TCDSB already provides for families and young children. These include our already vibrant half-day kindergarten program, a successful full-day Senior Kindergarten program offered for the past 7 years at six of our schools, and services such as after-school programs, Parenting and Family Literacy Centres, Early Years Centres and Best Starts Centres.
Effective classrooms in the Full-Day Kindergarten program take full advantage of play, and embedded intentional opportunities for learning in the physical environment. Children engage in structured play-based learning opportunities under the guidance of the early learning team. Teachers and Early Childhood Educators have a partnership that is both collaborative and complementary in support of children and their families. Together they provide a play-based learning environment as outlined in the Early Learning Kindergarten Program Draft Curriculum Document Complemented by both the “The Kindergarten Program 2006” Ministry Guidelines, and the E.L.E.C.T. document (Early Learning for Every Child Today 2006). The Extended Day Draft Curriculum Document has now been released as well and is available on the Ministry website. TCDSB intends to operate extended day programs in the future, as currently there has not been sufficient interest from parents in our school communities to create viable programs. It is important to note that our existing Religious Education Kindergarten Program, “In God’s Image”, will be fully embedded in both draft curriculum documents.
Much work continues to lie ahead in the planning and preparation for the full implementation of this exciting new initiative. The government, in its’ roll out, is providing $245 million in capital funding to school boards to build new classrooms, to renovate existing ones and to provide professional learning opportunities for FDELK teachers and E.C.E.’s. As part of this funding, TCDSB received $52,800 in its’ initial year of implementation from the Ministry of Education which provided the Early Learning Teams with valuable support from our resource staff.
As we move forward in planning for the extension of the Early Learning Program in all of our elementary schools, we will endeavour to keep our communities informed throughout the planning process. In September 2011, TCDSB will add ten new schools to its’ Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten family: Holy Rosary, Nativity of the Lord, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Charles Garnier, St. Dominic Savio, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, St. Norbert, St. Rita, St. Teresa, and St. Wilfrid.
The Board website continues to be a good resource for families who would like more information about this program, as well as other programs and services offered by our Board. Please visit www.tcdsb.org
to see the latest news and information.
In 2004, the Toronto Catholic District School Board initiated a pilot program offering full day, every day Senior Kindergarten in seven schools across the system. This comprehensive program is based on The Kindergarten Program (Ministry of Education, 2006), Toronto Catholic District School Board resources and current research on exemplary Kindergarten practices. It is built upon three essential cornerstones: student support, teacher support and parent support. Our aim is to provide an exemplary full day Senior Kindergarten program that will help children develop morally, intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically in a manner appropriate to their age and stage of development.
- Ensures that children leave Senior Kindergarten with a stronger foundation of literacy and numeracy skills
- Integrates concepts of health, social and emtional well-being
- Enhances children's feelings of self-worth and appreciation of their own and other people's ethnicity, culture and language in a multi-cultural society
- Provides for the prevention, early identification and intervention of problems that interfere with the development of children’s learning through specific programming and a Kindergarten Support Team (consisting of a speech-language pathologists, psychology and social work staff)
- Recognize the value of parents as partners in the education of their children by keeping them well informed, encouraging their input and involvement and providing support as need.
- Establish links with community services as resources and support for children, parents and teachers
- St. Dorothy Catholic School - Full Day Early Kindergarten Implementation 2012
- St. Teresa Catholic School - Full Day Early Kindergarten Implementation 2011
- St. Augustine Catholic School - Full Day Early Kindergarten Implementation 2013
- Blessed Margherita of Citta di Castello Catholic School - Full Day Early Kindergarten Implementation 2013
- St. Luigi Catholic School - Full Day Early Kindergarten Implementation 2014
- St. Boniface Catholic School - Full Day Early Kindergarten Implementation 2014
- St. Thomas Moore Catholic School - Full Day Early Kindergarten Implementation 2012