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Ready to Learn - Resources on Full-Day Kindergarten

By September 2014, the Ministry of Education's Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) program will be fully implemented, and there will be 10,000 Full Day Kindergarten classrooms across the province. The impact of the Full Day Kindergarten program will depend how the teacher - early childhood educator team implement it in your child’s classroom. Based on the material presented at the information night Ready, Set, let's GO to Kindergarten, we have compiled this page of direct links to Ministry of Education resources to help parents better understand the Full Day Kindergarten program.

Ontario Early Years Policy FrameworkThe Vision for Early Years Learning

Ten years of research proves that young children are capable of more complex thought and learning than was previously believed. The Ontario Early Years Policy Framework outlines the Ministry of Education's vision and direction for the development and delivery of early years programs and services.

Positive Relationships and Brain Development

Research shows that students need to be involved in what they want to learn. The teacher’s role is to support and guide the learning. In the video below, Dr. Jean Clinton explains that by letting children follow their own wonderings, their brains are more receptive to learning.

More videos and research information about positive relationships and brain development can be found on the Ministry of Education webpage entitled Think, Feel, Act: Lessons from research about young children.

Research on the Full Day Kindergarten Program

A study of full-day kindergarten was conducted in partnership with Queen's and McMaster universities from 2010-2012. The purpose of this research was to measure the impact of FDK, and to help identify effective practices to improve the delivery of the program moving forward. Read more about the Full-Day Kindergarten Study Evaluation.

What will my Child Learn and Do?

The FDK program aims to be engaging and play-based. Children are involved in many different kinds of activities designed to help young learners explore, discover and grow. These activities are designed to encourage children to explore and investigate, observe and learn, and to think creatively.

ocsb photo kindergarten studentsGuided play is the vehicle that ensures learning for small children. For example, instead of providing a store bought marble run construction toy, a group of children will work on building their own, through trial and error, developing drawings that depict construction challenges or give directions. Questions such as "What do you think will happen?" and "What do you notice is happening?" help to foster engagement and learning.

Technology has become a key tool in helping students learn. For students and parents alike, it provides evidence that the child is learning, and what they are learning.

The classroom set-up in the FDK program may be more sparse than many parents expect, with less material on the walls and throughout the room at the beginning of the year. This is by design so that part of the year's journey includes the students getting involved in what goes on the walls. As the year goes by, the classroom gets filled with items chosen by the educator team and the children. The children also play a key role in deciding how the classroom items are stored and displayed. This empowerment is critical to give the children a sense of ownership for their classroom items, and the choices the children make about their space helps the educator team to know what kind of learners they are.

Read more about the FDK program on  the Ministry of Education webpage entitled What will my child learn and do?

Relationship with Home

Research shows that students are more successful in school when their parents are engaged in their learning. Parents can support their children at home by incorporating teaching into their environment. For example, to teach math they can identify the numbers in street signs, count with their children as they climb the staircase at home, or count down along with the street crossing signs.

mother-reading-to-kidsWhen parents read to their child, instead of focusing on letter identification and reading skills, they can focus on the child's comprehension and help the development of higher order thinking skills. For example, instead of reading a story and simply asking "What colour was the car that stopped on the bridge?", they can also ask "Why do you think they stopped on the bridge?" and "What do you think will happen next?" This develops and monitors whether the child can infer, predict, and imagine (all higher order skills) based on what they have understood from the text.

Early Learning Resources

Follow the link for a comprehensive list of Early Learning Resources for 2013-2014 provided by the Ministry of Education.