How OCSB’s kindergarten program nurtures young mindsIt’s just after 9 a.m. at St. John the Apostle Catholic School. The sound of laughter is everywhere on the kindergarten playground. Kindergarten students are doing what they do best – playing. It’s a scene that plays out across all Ottawa Catholic School Board kindergarten classes.
Children learn through real-life experiences. Exploring, role-playing, imagining, pretending – these are all essential elements of learning. Educators incorporate “pretending possibilities,” such as going to the imaginary grocery store as a way of learning about letters, numbers and social skills.
The OCSB Kindergarten program incorporates 50 percent French language instruction. Children will learn equally in French and English. They are supported by dedicated educators, including a team composed of a teacher and a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE). What makes the OCSB unique is French is taught in the same classroom as English studies. Young children thrive on routine; learning in the same setting adds stability. Don’t worry if you don’t speak French at home. OCSB’s French programming is designed for young minds of all languages. Your child will become your French tutor in no time!
OCSB’s student playtime is enhanced by the early adoption of the “Deep Learning Framework.” This innovative way of learning allows children to explore and connect their daily knowledge with broader, real-world experiences. This style of instruction stimulates interest and creatively promotes learning. The OCSB is committed to teaching the whole child – mind, body and spirit. Our educators organically integrate the six global competencies – collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, citizenship and character, throughout their teachings in word and action.
“I think it’s important to remember today’s kindergarten programming is evidence-based on how children learn. We are working with a curriculum that has been tested and developed by experts,” says St. John the Apostle Catholic School teacher, Maddalena DeCristofaro-Slater. “We also emphasize our commitments to ‘Be Community, Be Well, Be Innovative,’ and we infuse faith-based learning and gospel values into everything we do inside and outside the classroom.” We nurture faith and provide opportunities to gather and participate in celebrations and prayer.
Kindergarten is an adventure. No two days are the same, but one thing remains constant. “Our students feel safe, supported and encouraged as they are learning through play. All OCSB classrooms have a safe place where they can go to regroup if they feel overwhelmed, tired or sad. Self-regulation is central to a child’s capacity to learn. The ability to self-regulate is a cornerstone of development, and it plays a large part in OCSB’s kindergarten programming,” says DeCristofaro-Slater.
A student might sit in a beanbag chair and put on headphones to listen to a message from parents, or stand quietly for a few moments doing controlled breathing until their emotional energy is back on track. Once a student feels emotionally centred, they are ready to participate again fully. As a result, children are more relaxed while at school, and in turn, when they arrive home. The OCSB is committed to Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). Learn more at www.ocsb.ca/wellness
Our classrooms, our schools and our playgrounds try to mirror our “Be Community, Be Well, Be Innovative,” mindset. We are committed to fostering an environment in which children feel safe and comfortable, says DeCristofaro-Slater. For example, in September, the walls of our kindergarten classrooms are minimally decorated. We do this on purpose. We want the children to design their learning spaces; it gives them a sense of belonging and accomplishment.” We hope to provide all students with an atmosphere that encourages exploration and allows children to take risks in a safe and caring environment.” Be Community, Be Well, Be Innovative is who we are at the OCSB.
Kindergarten Registration is January 13, 2020 – January 17, 2020, at your neighbourhood school. We look forward to meeting your child.
For more information on the OCSB’s kindergarten program, visit www.ocsb.ca/kindergarten