Friday, April 9, 2010

Full day kindergarten

I am dismayed.

CP24- Ontario announces $1.5 billion all-day learning for 4 and 5-year olds ...
12 Jan 2010 
TORONTO — Thousands of four- and five-year-old children in Ontario will get a better education -- and strengthen Ontario's economy -- by going to school full time this fall, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday.

I truly believe that the early years are best taught by ECE grads, not teachers. I can remember, when I took my ECE 4-year degree, student teaching in kindergartens. They truly didn't understand the play by learning approach as educators. This may have improved over the years, but young children differ so in their needs.

They need play time, snack time, circle time, and a rich environment, hot meals, good food, nap times, with language, discipline, structure and routines.

They need a teacher with experience in ECE, training in pedagogy, classroom management, discipline, all sadly lacking at the Faculties of Education. When I taught at the uOttawa, Social Studies Section of the student teacher's primary/junior program, they said that they talked about discipline in their tutorials, but not with their professors. Yes, they were taught how to teach Science and Tech, but not how to ensure that learning occurs while you manage a classroom of students with a wide range of social, emotional, physical, and behavioural disabilities.

They need time to just be. To sit, to do, to relax and interact with significant adults, as well as peers.

Kindergarteners do not need to type of art activities that many teachers create, for example. The exact same product, to show off or staple to the bulletin board. A routine governed by bells, principals, and prep time. A routine governed by the education act. They need the caring, warm environment that is easily replaced in a licenced, supervised, day care, with full-time staff that let the child develop, and incorporate home-like routines.

They need opportunities to work with clay, water, sand, scissors, paste, glue, at their own rate, in their own time. They need to role play, learn songs, stories, rhythm and rhymes in a child-centred, activity-based open concept classroom. Plus, they need a substitute caregiver who understands that play is learning, discipline and structure have its place. But most of all, we cannot force pre-reading (pre-literacy) and pre-numeracy skills down their throats.  Especially on my tax dollar. Parents, too, need affordable, licenced, trained day care providers, in a home-like setting. My pregnant daughter, with her M.Sc., is a product of full-time day care, depends upon her day care provider to be a staple balance in the village it takes to raise a child. Our granddaughter, shown in these photos, thrives in her day care program.

  • We need working parents to be able to find caregivers who can provide a safe learning environment in which these skills are not taught, but facilitated, at the speed at which the learner is able to handle them.
  • We need ECE grad who understand pedagogical practices, with sociology, psychology, and an understanding of the Key Experiences in Early Childhood.
  • We need caregivers who can manage a child in day care, who are trained, responsible, and understand ages and stages.
  • We need caregivers who understand that 'curriculum' is a dirty word in early childhood, and that the Ministry of Education cannot enforce cookie cutter learning expectations for 3 and 4 and 5-year olds.

1 comment:

Together Time 4 Families said...

Love your post about 4 and 5 All Day K. To add to the discussion I can share with you what I saw as I taught in a Head Start Program in a long term sub position, March-June this year.(children ages 3-5) First, I love working with young children and enjoyed my job. Second, I noticed that many of the children were dual programed in either a 4K half day 5 day a week program, a half day special education four day a week program, day care five day program or at home opposite time of the H.S. program. What I saw were children, especially in the afternoon group, who were tired, less attentive and required more encouragement to maintain attention to tasks.....why??? It was obvious to me that these young children's ability to focus was maxed out by this dual programming and hard for them to sustain attention to what I was requiring - young children cannot and should not be in an environment that requires attention to tasks beyond what is developmentally appropriate. It is a difficult balance because we have a tendency to "school" children without regard to developmental factors. Perhaps we need to revisit social/emotional and cognitive philosophy's from Piaget, David Elkind, Stanley Greenspan and T.Barry Brazelton - some of my mentors -when planning best practice programs to benefit the development of the whole child. Just my 2 cents, Jenn
Susan

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