In 1973, Alberta Education established the Early Childhood Services (ECS) to provide learning experiences that would assist in the development of the whole child: intellectual, social, emotional, creative and physical. ECS is the umbrella term that covers programs that provide experiences for children from 2 1/2 to 5 1/2 years of age and the Kindergarten year which is specifically geared to children who will be entering Grade 1 in the following year. All Kindergarten programs must be approved by Alberta Education and are continually monitored in terms of staff, facility and curriculum.
A good learning environment for the young child is relaxed and unhurried as s/he participates in a well balanced program of activity and quiet pursuits. S/He has many opportunities to experiment with a wide variety of materials and equipment, to interact with others in sharing ideas and to explore his/her ever expanding world of living things (numbers, words, music, etc.).
The adult often considers the terms work and play as opposite in meaning, but to the child they mean the same. S/He works the hardest and learns the most at play. The child’s greatest asset in the process of learning is his/her ability to play. It is through his/her play that s/he manages to come to terms with the world and make something s/he can understand and control.
We have 5 separate times when we make contact with the parents to discuss their child and his/her progress:
- New Children’s Visit: During this 1 hour visit in June, your child can enjoy the kindergarten first hand with an assigned big-buddy. While the children share activities and snack, the parents can meet new families. The teacher also uses this time to view each child and identify any concerns.
- Home Visits: This visit takes place in early September when the teacher spends approximately 1/2 hour in your home. This is a wonderful time for you and your child to get acquainted with the teacher on a one-on-one basis and to share information about your child. It is a great boost in morale for your child, too.
- Parent/Teacher Conference: In late November the teacher will set up a special time for you to visit with her about your child’s progress.
- Child-Led Conference: While you volunteer in the classroom in March, you will have a chance to share your child’s keepsakes (Journals & Memory Book) and discover what s/he has been doing since the beginning of September. This is a wonderful opportunity for your child to LEAD the conference with you and show pride in his/her accomplishments thus far.
- Parent/Teacher Conference: In late May or early June we will have our final conference to discuss your child’s year at Kindergarten and Grade One transition goals.
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
Alberta Education states that children who attend kindergarten must turn 5 on or before December 31st of the school year. There are some exceptions that involve special educational needs and/or how many years a child has attended kindergarten. Children from all over Calgary join our kindergarten for a year of learning and discovery. Some of these children have special educational needs when they enter the program while a few are identified while they are attending our kindergarten. These children may have mild/moderate disabilities that require some help from a Speech Language Pathologist or an Occupational Therapist. Others have slightly more severe disabilities and will be accompanied by an Education Assistant who can give them the one-on-one attention that they require. Some of these children require Program Unit Funding (PUF) or Mild/Moderate funding from Alberta Education. These children are a welcome addition to our classroom and assimilate beautifully.