Today's Lesson: The 5 W's of FDK
"The government’s plan to provide full-day junior and senior kindergarten is a positive and important step towards bringing Ontario more in line with developed countries that have a strong commitment to the education and development of young children." www.etfo.ca
Sending your child off to their first day of Full Day Kindergarten or FDK is a transition that is full of unknowns. Who will they spend their days with? What will they do there? When do I register? Why is necessary that my child spends all day in kindergarten? How is the program delivered? Where can I get more information?
Who will they spend their days with?
FDK classrooms have an average of 26 students supervised and taught by a Teacher and an Early Childhood Educator (ECE). In many scenarios the classes are split between JK and SK students. This means there may be a range of students between the ages of 3-6 years of age in the classroom. ECE's have expertise in early childhood development while the teacher is responsible for student learning. Together they create a full day play based learning environment based on the Ontario Curriculum for Full Day Learning
What will they do there?
Through play based learning and small group instruction, children develop a foundation for learning in language, math, science, technology, physical education and the arts. They will develop social and emotional skills through interactions with peers guided by the teacher and ECE. Other activities in the classroom will foster: exploration and investigation, creative thinking and developed observation skills.
When do I register?
You may register your child as early as January in the year before they start. Early registration is key for a few reasons: It helps the schools plan class sizes which affects staffing. It is crucial that schools have the proper amount of teachers and ECE staff ready to go on the first day of school. Also, some schools host a orientation. Take your child to this event to meet their teacher and orient themselves with the school. Contact your local school for more information.
Why is FDK important?
FDK is optional for students to attend. Attending a FDK program may result in a stronger academic start in school and an easier transition into grade 1. Your child may also benefit from being able to socialize with children and develop lifelong social and emotional skills. When the introduction to school is an enjoyable transition and experience, your child will likely be naturally inclined to learn and will be an eager participant in their school community.
How is the program delivered:
The FDK curriculum is delivered through play-based learning designed to help young learners explore, discover and grow. It is important to note that the 'play' in play-based learning is structured and intentional. Play teaches children how to problem solve, make friends, express themselves, enjoy their surroundings, how to recognize letters and numbers and aquire foundational academic skills.
How can I prepare my child for this transition?
Go to the orientation. Go with your child, so the route to school, the classroom, teacher and surroundings are familiar. Start this routine early and visit the school a few times in the week leading up to their first at school drop off.
Start the 'back to school' routine 'before back to school'. Give your child time to get accustomed to what being a FDK student means. Establish routines for bedtime, waking up, breakfast and 'out the door'. Practice packing healthy lunches and snacks and having your child eat them at regular intervals throughout the day. Structure and routine can be a difficult part of the transition to FDK so help prepare your child before school begins.
Play School with your child. Play-based learning will take over your house hold soon enough so start now. You be the teacher, ask your child to practice unzipping their coat and hanging it on a hook (door handle?), have them change their shoes and put their 'indoor' shoes on, remind them to raise their hand if they have a question, help them to sit quietly and listen to a story you read aloud. Give them a crayon, help them hold it. Ask them to observe the back yard and tell you what they see. Practice healthy bathroom routines so they may do so independently and have them go into their bags and open their snack and water containers themselves. You will be amazed and likely reassured, about how much they already know and how prepared they really are for this. Remember to remind your child that you have confidence in them, and that you know they will be successful.
Where Can I get more Information?
Until Our Next Lesson....
Ann and Karen