Cornwall Ontario — A joint committee dedicated to ensuring parent involvement in preparing children for success in kindergarten has been honoured with a national award from The Learning Partnership.
The Cornwall and Area Welcome to Kindergarten/FACES Steering Committee, which includes representatives from Upper Canada District School Board elementary schools, was recognized Friday with a Welcome to Kindergarten Award for Partnership Excellence. The committee was cited for a program that builds on the successful Welcome to Kindergarten initiative by encouraging greater parental involvement in preparing children for a successful start to kindergarten. The program allows preschoolers and their parents to visit the kindergarten classroom they will attend in the weeks leading up to their first school year. It also provides resources parents can use to ready their children for their first day of school.
Sheila MacIntyre, a program resource teacher with the Upper Canada District School Board, is co-chair of the committee. She was elated with the award.
“I think it is just awesome for the steering committee to receive this recognition; however, it would not have been possible without the energy and commitment of the kindergarten teams from our participating schools,” said MacIntyre. “It is quite an honour.”
The committee’s work is an extension of the Welcome to Kindergarten Program in the Cornwall area. The program encourages additional school visits by a parent and their child – the number varies depending on the school – in the weeks and months leading up to the child’s first day of kindergarten. There is also a follow-up visit that takes place between September and November.
Parents visit the school with their preschool child and learn how to do everything from making healthy snacks to boosting numeracy skills. The program has also developed “Family Fun Kits” – packages families can take home that encourage parents to cultivate basic skills in their children through play-based learning. The kits provide everything from finger puppets for storytelling to a set of dice to develop early math skills.
Committee members were presented with a plaque on behalf of the Learning Partnership and the committee received $1,000 to spend in support of its work.
The committee is comprised of representatives from Maxville Public School, Longue Sault Public School, Viscount Alexander Public School, Eamer’s Corners Public School, Gladstone Public School, East Front Public School, and Central Public School, as well as Cornwall-area schools from the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario. Community agencies represented in the partnership include: the Ontario Early Years Centre, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, the Parent Resource Centre, Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre, Cornwall Public Library, St. Lawrence College, the City of Cornwall Child Care Services/Best Start Network, and the Parent Resource Centre.
The Learning Partnership is a national not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to championing a strong public education system in Canada through innovative programs, credible research, policy initiatives, leadership training and public engagement.