The Kindergarten program at the OCSB
We recognize Kindergarten as the place where your child’s learning journey begins. Our two year Kindergarten program provides unique learning opportunities and experiences to help give your child the best possible start. Our rich curriculum, which includes 50% French language instruction, sends your child home each day with something new to tell.
How the Kindergarten program works
Kindergarten programs in all Ontario schools are based on the expectations and practices outlined by the Ontario Ministry of Education. The Ministry’s Kindergarten Program is organized under frames which are designed to support a child’s natural learning ability in a way that is best suited to their individual strengths and needs. We’ve expanded on these frames with our commitment to “Be Community, Be Well, Be Innovative,” infusing the Kindergarten program in a way that parents can understand an engage with.
Registering for Kindergarten
If your child will be 4 years old by December 31, 2020, then they will be ready to start Kindergarten in September 2020. You can register anytime by visiting your local OCSB school, but the OCSB reserves a special week every January for Kindergarten Registration Week in our schools. Our registration page will tell you everything you need to know about starting this exciting new journey.
Why self-regulation spaces are so important
When children are learning through play, they are also interacting with others and experiencing a wide range of emotions each day. We believe it is crucial that young children be given the tools to help understand these changes and how their emotional state affects their well-being.
Self-regulation is central to a child’s capacity to learn. Referred to as the cornerstone of development, self-regulation in the classroom enables children to set limits for themselves and manage their own emotions, attention, and behaviour. All OCSB classrooms are equipped with a self-regulation space 9safe place) as part of our commitment to Social Emotional Learning (SEL). A safe place is a place where a child can choose to go to regroup, or whenever they feel their emotions are not in an optimal state. A student might sit in a bean bag 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. As a result, children are more relaxed while at school, and in turn, when they arrive home.
If you don’t know what a class “safe place” looks like yet, you’re in for a treat. These places are not time-out spaces. They are options. Options which accommodate the differences and individuality of all of our precious children. It’s okay to be angry or sad — it’s how those emotions are handled which is important. Read more about SEL at the OCSB in the Ottawa Parenting Times magazine.
When French is a taught in a stable envionrment
Our Kindergarten program incorporates 50% French language instruction. This means that children will experience the program equally in French and in English, providing a rich exposure to both of Canada’s official languages. What makes the OCSB unique is that we recognize that second language instruction should meet children in their own classroom learning environment, rather than moving to different areas to learn French. Since young children thrive on routine, learning in the same setting adds great stability. And don’t worry if you do not speak French at home. Our program is designed for young minds of all languages. Your child will be teaching you French in no time!
Why our children help design our classrooms
The walls in our kindergarten classrooms may be more sparse at the beginning of the year than many parents expect. We do this purposely. Part of each year’s journey includes the children getting involved in what goes on the walls. As the year goes by, the classroom gets filled with items chosen by the children themselves. The children also play a key role in deciding how the classroom items are stored and displayed. This empowerment is critical to give the children a sense of ownership for their classroom items, and the choices the children make about their space helps the educator team to know what kind of learners they are.
How our faith-filled environment nurtures young minds
Learning in a faith-filled environment is a unique and important part of our Kindergarten program. It fosters an early understanding of how we grow and celebrate together. Our youngest learners engage in activities that offer experiences which reinforce the attitudes, feelings and values inherent in Christian living. We nurture faith, and there are many opportunities to gather and participate in celebrations and prayer. Read more about faith in our OCSB schools.
“Early childhood is a period of momentous significance. By the time this period is over, children will have formed conceptions of themselves as social beings, as thinkers and as language users, and they will have reached certain important decisions about their abilities and their own worth.”as cited in the Kindergarten Program
What is involved with play-based learning
Children are full of natural curiosity, exploring the world around them through play. Our Kindergarten program is child-centred and play-based. Our Kindergarten Teachers and Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) structure play-based activities to observe the social, emotional, physical and intellectual interactions within a classroom setting, while assessing the stages of development.
The full-day play-based learning model allows young children to work out ideas and theories through playing (indoors and outdoors) to deepen their understanding and further their learning. Children explore, manipulate, build, create, wonder and ask questions naturally, moving through the world in an inquiry stance. Our educators use their professional knowledge and skills to support learning through play, adopting an inquiry stance along with their students.
Daily play is maximized by our early adoption of the “Deep Learning Framework.” This innovative way of learning allows children to explore and connect their daily learning with broader, real-world experiences. We listen and interact with the children while playing, and then respond with questions that challenge and extend learning. Instead of providing a store bought marble run construction toy, a group of children will work on building their own. They will discover on their own how it works by drawing plans or mapping out directions together. Questions like “What do you think will happen?” help to stimulate interest and promote learning in a creative way.