The first day of school is a big milestone for children and their families, especially for parents who are sending a child to school for the first time. Even for experienced parents, knowing the steps to take to register for school or what to expect in Kindergarten may leave some asking questions.
Here is some quick info that will get parents and children started on a smooth transition into Kindergarten.
Full-Day Kindergarten in Ontario
Children can start school in the year they turn four years old. All schools in Ontario now offer full-day Kindergarten (FDK), which means students go all day, each day.
Research done by the Ontario Ministry of Education found that when students attend the two-year kindergarten program they are better prepared for success in Grade 1. Comparisons of children with two years of FDK instruction and children with no FDK instruction showed that those in FDK had reduced risks in social competence development from 10.5 per cent to 5.8 per cent; reduced risks in language and cognitive development from 15.8 per cent to 4.3 per cent, and reduced risks in communication skills and general knowledge development from 10.5 per cent to 5.8 per cent.
What will they learn?
Kindergarten now follows a play-based curriculum. While that might not sound different than a typical Saturday or day at daycare, research has shown that children really do learn best through play. Through play-based learning in a culture of inquiry, children develop a strong foundation for learning in all areas, including problem solving, critical thinking, literacy and math.
Kindergarten also develops social skills in children and helps them understand where they fit into the world outside their family, and to build external relationships.
How do I pick a school?
When it comes to Kindergarten, which school your child attends will depend on your location and transportation needs. If there are multiple schools in your catchment area to choose from, visit the schools and find the one that is the best fit with your family. Many schools will be holding Kindergarten information sessions in January and February. Check out when your local school is hosting theirs.
When do I register?
Parents can register for Kindergarten at any point during the year that their child turns four. Registration for the 2019-2020 school year with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) is open now, as it is for many other boards as well.
How do I register?
Each board does their registration differently but you can always visit the school you want your child to attend and register in person. While it’s nice to be able to register in person and bring your child with you, it’s not always practical. The UCDSB offers parents the option to register in person at the local school, online or by phone (call your local school or 1-800-267-7131 for assistance).
What do I need to register?
When you register your child for Kindergarten, you will need proof of age and address. Proof of age could be a Birth Certificate, Passport, Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, Statement of Live Birth or Permanent Resident Card.
The address provided for your child must be the same address as the parent or guardian. For this you can use a utility bill, property tax assessment, lease/rental/mortgage agreement or other official document.
If you choose to register online, you will need to bring these documents to the school prior to when your child starts school, but the school will let you know when!
The UCDSB’s vision is to create futures, leading and learning for all – and this starts with helping parents to understand Kindergarten and enrollment.