Chesterville Ontario — The Ministry of Education has recently revised the Early Learning Program for Kindergarten students. The new program reflects the belief that four and five-year-olds are capable and active learners, full of potential and ready to take ownership of their learning. Based on self-directed learning with a child-centred approach, the new model encourages caring, play-based experiences that promote emotional, social, cognitive and physical development in an environment which is safe and comfortable for all children.
Christina Lapierre, Early Years Curriculum Consultant, provided the Board with an overview of the new program and how it enhances learning for young students. “The new program reflects a shift in thinking,” explained Ms. Lapierre. “The curriculum is framed differently in that it allows the children to explore their interests and encourages learning based on their lead. This allows for more excitement in learning; more joy, more wonder, and more learning.”
Developed as a two year program document which no longer identifies a Junior and Senior level curriculum, student report cards and evaluation will be standardized for all Kindergarten learners across Ontario. In addition, the overall expectations are no longer broken into subject areas; instead, learning expectations are evaluated through conceptual understanding statements, and report cards are anecdotal in nature with no specific grades. The curriculum is now structured as an integrated, whole-child approach to learning.
The key areas of the curriculum is divided into four frames for learning, which are designed to support planning instruction and assessment that aligns with how learning naturally occurs through play and inquiry. The four frames include: belonging and contributing, self-regulation and well-being, literacy and mathematics behaviours, and problem solving and innovating.
“The new program supports the belief that learning happens in a relationship setting, when kids are partnered with other learners,” explained Ms. Lapierre. “The new key areas of development are a really significant change – literacy and numeracy are not on the list, but these skills happen naturally when we lay the foundation for other skills.”