Schools prepare for full-day kindergarten 0
With five weeks left of summer vacation, schools are bracing themselves for the return of students.
Some schools have had extra work to do over the summer break as they prepare for full-time kindergarten.
Connaught Public School has undergone some physical changes to accommodate full-day kindergarten; the school is expected to have two classes.
“We're creating a kindergarten class out of an area that used to be their staff room,” said John Dance, Simcoe County School Board's Superintendent of Facility Services.
The school will also be converting rooms at the front of the building to replace the staff room.
“There's been quite a bit of work,” said Dance. “They're making progress on the construction. You wouldn't know its going on, but they're on schedule to get this done.”
The classes will be staffed with Early Childhood Educators, along with teachers.
“It's a big change for the teachers as far as wrapping their heads around working with a teammate,” said Dance.
Dance has seen the full-day kindergarten work positively in other schools, including Admiral Collingwood Elementary School and Clearview Meadows Elementary School, where the program was implemented last year.
“Students become a part of the school a lot sooner,” said Dance. “They retain the information. If they're at school every day it builds on what they are learning.”
Dance says the school board went to every other day kindergarten a few years ago because of transportation costs. Board officials noticed the students missed out on the every-day routines of school.
The school board is also developing outdoor classrooms with Dearborn Designs that schools can choose to be a part of.
The outdoor classrooms are designed to promote play-based programming as set out by the Ontario early learning curriculum.
“We've identified a number of components that are conducive to different stations that promote outdoor activities to kids,” said Dance. “Part of the kindergarten program is to use outdoor spaces as much as possible, and not just be inside the classroom all the time.”
The classrooms can be used by any student during recess.
“It's really using our spaces instead of just a field,” said Dance. “We're trying to get the kids around the (school) yard instead of just the playground.”
Dance says some schools, such as Connaught, have recently updated their outdoor equipment before the outdoor classrooms program was introduced.
Cameron Street Public School has an outdoor classroom adjacent to their parking lot. The school built it with some of the funds they won from a contest earlier this year to beautify their schoolyard.
Cameron Street's full-day kindergarten program will be implemented for the 2013-14 school year.
“They're intended to last for a while, so hopefully schools will be able to invest in them,” said Dance.