January 14th, 2019
Starting kindergarten is an exciting time for children and families. For many, it’s the first school experience in their learning journey. At Waterloo Region District School Board, we want to assure families that their children will receive the best education for their child’s needs from kindergarten to graduation.
In kindergarten, students learn about the world around them through play. Play-based learning is an essential part of a child’s development. Through play, children build skills that help them develop language to express themselves and their thoughts. Educators in the classroom guide children to help them learn how their words and actions can affect others.
“Often we hear from families ‘how can I prepare my child to start kindergarten?'”, said Loa Ziles, a consultant for the kindergarten program. “We know that parents and caregivers understand how best to support their children through new experiences and transitions, such as starting school. It is important for families to know that we are ready for your child, it’s not them being ready for us. We are ready and will welcome them into our classrooms.”
As a parent or caregiver, you may have questions about the kindergarten program, such as:
What will my child learn and do?
Kindergarten focuses on all five areas of development: social and emotional, cognitive, physical and fine and gross motor skills. Children learn and experience activities designed to enhance these five areas. Educators introduce children to the world of literacy and mathematics by growing their reading and writing skills and showing students new mathematical components, such as patterns. Children show their understanding of these new concepts through play, perhaps by making a pattern with blocks. Educators will also support children in understanding themselves and encouraging them to see themselves as valuable members of their classroom and school community, as well as their home community.
Who is working in the classroom?
Kindergarten classrooms in Waterloo Region District School Board have an educator and an early childhood educator (ECE) working together during the regular school day. These two educators have complementary skills, and their relationship allows for differentiated support for children and their learning.
Early childhood educators know about a child’s development from birth to the time they start school and augment the work already taking place in the classroom. ECE’s support children at various stages and work with them as they move forward learning and understanding new concepts.
Educators know the kindergarten program and elementary curriculum, assessment and evaluation. They are responsible for student learning, instruction and formal reporting to families based on the educator-ECE team assessments of children’s progress.
How can I prepare my child to start kindergarten?
There are many things you can do at home to help your child get ready for kindergarten. Talking and singing is a fun way to help children express their thoughts and feelings. Talking about school and how fun it’s going to be is another way to get your child excited about starting school. Walk or drive by the school, so they become familiar with the building. After March Break, you may visit your school library and take out books. Visiting the library not only introduces your child to their new school but encourages reading and associates learning and going to school as a positive experience.
To learn more about WRDSB Kindergarten programming, visit www.wrdsb.ca/kindergarten