Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My questions about full-day kindergarten

Good old days 
I have written much on this topic. I am most concerned. When they instituted open-concept classrooms in the 70s, all were excited. Teachers were not well-prepared for it and they closed the walls up in the 80s. When they created Whole Language strategies for improving literacy (reading/writing skills), they failed to train staff properly. Not enough people asked questions and many jumped on the bandwagon. They adopted the train-the-trainer model, and teachers sent off for PD were expected to come back and train staff. It failed miserably, since they didn't teach to the very end, where phonics were most important for the at-risk learners. Then, they had to write books on encouraging boys to read.

Even in Day Care Centres, and in Nursery Schools, they limit the numbers of children in a
My 4-year-old granddaughter's class has 33 children. Granted, it is in a newly renovated room, with a fortune in new equipment, and kiddie washrooms, but this is just wrong.
SK class, lots of room for only 20 kids

Parents really need to be asking some questions.  

In my 25 years teaching, armed with a 4-year degree in Early Childhood Education, I found that few teachers were trained in being Kindergarten teachers. They are simply untrained for preschool education, which requires much inservice. They are trained to teach, not facilitate play-based learning. "Today, we are all going to try to print our names." (Which is traditionally left to later years.) Are we hurrying our children too much?

sand box
Read me a story
Too many JK/SK teachers force kids to do printing and other reading skills, and skip the pre-reading skills. The same is true for numeracy. This might be part of the problem with our kids in math. They laud discovery learning in elementary school (proven to be unsuccessful) but fail at this in the kindergarten years.

Day Nurseries Act limits group size

Ny questions for school boards and the Ministry of Education

  1. How many school have put portable in place in order to accommodate and retrofit full-day classrooms for JK/SK?
    free play in the kitchen
  2. What are the learning outcomes for FDK?
  3. What are the prerequisite qualifications for teachers of FDK?
  4. How many unqualified staff, i.e., part-time vice-principals, are teaching FDK?
  5. How many principals are familiar with Day Care and FDK Key Experiences, and appropriate ages and stages?
  6. How are teachers coping with toilet training, or are ECEs taking care of this issue?
  7. How often does bullying occur in FDK? 
  8. Are staff trained to recognize the signs of stress in preschoolers, e.g., regression in toileting behaviour, biting, lack of control, and anger management issues in young children?
  9. Why is it that FDK can violate the well-researched Day Nurseries Act, which applies to preschool-aged children (20 children per classroom)?
  10. How have they shown that having one teacher and one ECE in a classroom is justifiable according to good pedagogy? 
    role play
  11. Why are FDK classes funded based on a class size of 26 children, when many have far more than this?
  12. How well do FDK teachers work with ECE? Is there give and take? Is there respect? This is not always the case in many classes with, for example, Educational Assistants.
  13. How are FDK students nutritional needs being supervised? Day Care provides hot meals.
  14. What happens when FDK children become sick and there is a need for parents to leave work, and come and pick them up? We know preschoolers are germ factories. 
  15. Are children required to visit each learning centre or are they able to make their own choices?
  16. Can kids, who need to, take a nap? Many fall asleep on the bus ride home. 
  17. How can two staff manage 33 kids in a lockdown or a fire drill?
  18. These suggested schedule, see below (The Full-Day EarlyLearning–Kindergarten Program, 2010–11.), suggest that kids must be learning all day. Is this not overextending the children who need to just be?
  19. Are FDK staff prepared to do identify special needs children and accommodate accordingly?
  20. Are children attending assemblies?
    Principals do not understand
    preschool education strategies.
    This in one heck of a long day, even for me. I was usually in school form 7 a.m. until 3:30. That's all I could stand.
    learn, learn, learn from 7 - 9 a.m.
    learn, learn, learn from 3:30 -  6:00 p.m.
    A preschool is a complex child,
    who needs more than science and tech information

  1. Ministry Propaganda - not based in Early Childhood Standards

  2. Classes under the government's full-day kindergarten program differ from other primary classes by having two educators – one teacher and one early childhood educator – working side-by-side during the day in the classroom. Full-day kindergarten classes are funded based on an average of 26 students per class or a ratio of 13 students to an adult.
    Smaller Class Sizes - Ontario

    Feb 23, 2012 - In 2008-09, we reached our goal of all primary classes having 23 or fewer students and 90% ... Why not limit all primary classes to 20 students? 
  3. The Extended-Day Program – Full-Day Early Learning – Kindergarten Program (draft)

    The Full-Day Early Learning–Kindergarten program consists of six areas of 

    learning – Personal and Social Development, Language, Mathematics, Science and

    Technology, Health and Physical Activity, and the Arts. These areas of learning are
    based on five developmental domains – social, emotional, communication/language,
    cognitive, and physical. The “big ideas” given with the six areas of learning are
    the broad, important understandings that children should retain from their
    participation in the Full-Day Early Learning–Kindergarten program. The chart 
    on page 2 illustrates the relationship between the areas of learning, developmental
    domains, and big ideas. For details of the program, see The Full-Day Early

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