Step Into Kindergarten Report Summer 2010
Communities that have strong transition to school models have students that are more successful. This is our first year at being universal in our approach to children entering junior kindergarten.
Our primary goal is to ease the transition into kindergarten by having children be more comfortable in their environment, have an opportunity to meet other children and help parents get connected to community resources and each other.
Step into Kindergarten is a one week transition to school program which runs 9am-12noon in the kindergarten room of the school a child will be attending. This is for children entering Junior Kindergarten. It takes place in the summer before the child enters school.
The program is facilitated by two staff with approximately 20 children.
The goals of the program are to:
- help children make friends before the first day of school
- have children and parents be part of a smaller group before the big day
- each child creates a portfolio that may help the kindergarten teacher see where a child is at on the continuum of learning
- connect parents with agencies before school begins if they need it
- make them aware of any issues with their children by assisting parents in using the Nippissing screener
- a time is provided where parents can be with their children and other parents in the classroom to help in creating social networks
Locations that Step Into Kindergarten was offered in Lanark County:
Beckwith School(19 children)
Caldwell School(21 children)
Chimo School(10 children)
Drummond Central School(11 children)
Duncan J. Schoular School(12 children)
Glen Tay School(14 children)
Holy Name of Mary Catholic School(24 children)
Montague Public School(17 children)
Queen Elizabeth School(19 children)
St. James the Greater School(22 children)
St. John Elementary School(14 children)
The Stewart School(12 children)
(also served 2 families from Wolford School, 2 families from Lombardy School and 1 family from North Elmsley School)
# doesn’t match up will have to figure out
Total Number of Children who attended Step Into Kindergarten this summer was: 197
Total Number of Families served in Lanark County this summer through the Step Into Kindergarten program was: 192
Schools unable to participate
Pakenham Public School
We offered a choice of two different weeks to the 8 families coming into the school and they were unable to commit at that point. Those families were called and informed of the programs running in Almonte in case that time frame suited them.
Arklan Community School
With the implementation of the Ready to Learn Program and changes to child care happening while program registration was taking place was just too difficult. The OEYC staff person in Carleton Place was invited to participate on the planning team for kindergarten registration for 2010 and will be included for 2011.
North Elmsley Public School
OEYC particicpated in the kindergartren registration night for the first time in 2010. The principal responded “given the dates that remain available and the uncertainty around staffing and student numbers at this time; I think we will respectfully decline. I may, however, contact you to take a look at how the program works at one of your participating schools for future reference for perhaps next year?“. Check in for 2011 to see if this school is interested.
R. Tait McKenzie Public School
This school was unable to register enough families to run a viable program. All families were offered spots at Holy Name of Mary school, where we ended up running two programs to support the Almonte community. Principal changes can affect working with outside partners.
Naismith Public School
There were timing issues with being set up as an Early Learning Program school, along with space and renovations changes to school. With all the changes for registration for the fall, lack of time was a problem, would like to look at it again next year.
Private and French Language Schools
These schools were not considered this year and need to be looked at for 2011.
Program goals were measured by two surveys, one for parents and one for principals. Parent survey information is provided below with principal information from five schools who answered the survey.
There was a 79% return rate of parent surveys so results are accurate with the sample size.
(152 surveys returned out of 192). This would represent 23% of the parents who have students entering Junior Kindergarten in Lanark County.
- Goal: help children make friends before the first day of school
78% of parents felt that their child made a friend/friends
- Goal: have children and parents be part of a smaller group before the big day
Many parents in their comments mentioned how happy they were to attend the school when there wasn’t so many people.
“This is my first experience with the program even though we have five older children I was very happy to hear that this program would be available at our daughter’s school. Even though we have sent all our other children to the same school it was nice to know that our youngest child could have a positive first school experience. First time students have so many new experiences that it’s nice to know where the washroom is, where to hang their coats, etc…this is an excellent program I would recommend to any parent of a new student. The teachers were great.”
- Goal: each child creates a portfolio that may help the kindergarten teacher see where a child is at on the continuum of learning
Each child made a portfolio and parents were encouraged to show to kindergarten teacher
- Goal: connect parents with agencies before school begins if they need it
7 referrals were made, many children were already connected with a community agency. On the registration form parents filled out what agencies they were connected with. A total of 82% of parents said that they were more aware of agencies in the community due to the program. Parents were also given the Parent Resources in Lanark County flyer. Parents were also given the OEYC website for agency links and information.
Parents were given the Nippissing making them aware of any issues with their children.
113 families used the Nippissing with their child. Some parents had already completed it on their child and some had written that they planned on doing it. That would be 74% of the parents who had children attending the program used the screen.
- Goal: a time is provided where parents can be with their children and other parents in the classroom to help in creating social networks
76% of parents met other parents at that school and 72 parents attended a kindergarten playtime with their children. 38% of the parents who had children attend thought that it was important to be with their child in the classroom to see what happens in a kindergarten room.
This needs to be handled with care as children also need to separate from their parents but parents really appreciated seeing what goes on in the classroom. Some teachers were not as comfortable with parents in the classroom as others were.
98% of the parents said their children enjoyed the program and that they were better prepared for entering school because their children attended Step Into Kindergarten.
30% of the children who attended the program were already linked up with the following agencies:
- Open Doors
- Language Express
- Lanark Early Integration Program
- Behaviour Development (LCP)
- Family Relief (LCP)
- IBI need to fill in what this stands for
- Lanark Community Programs
- Child Development Centre
Agency referrals during the program include:
2 to Lanark Community Programs
5 to Language Express
13 staff were trained in using the Red Flags-guide to early intervention.
After the 7 referrals were made a total of 66 children out of the 197 were connected with one of the above agencies.
In the 2006 EDI results, special needs children are identified as 12% ofthe total number of children at 5 years of age (Senior Kindergarten ) in Lanark County.
34% of the 197 children who attended Step Into Kindergarten are connected with an agency.
In the 2006 EDI results 62 out of 497 children were identified as special needs. And 53.2% of those children attended an early intervention program. That would be 33 children. If we had 66 children linked with an early intervention program at age 3, then that would be a 100% increase in the level of referrals.
Of the 540 children who are entering Junior Kindergarten this September, 197 children or 36% of 3 year olds attended a Step Into Kindergarten Program in Lanark County.
Children’ prior experience in Child Care
Information gathered on our registration forms indicated that children attending who had different experiences in child care situations. Of the 192 children registered, the breakdown of care looks like this:
- No previous day care experience 70
- Home informal 50
- Licensed day care 58
- Home child care 5
- Nursery school/Montessori 13
38% of the children attending programs had no previous day care experience
30% of the children attending programs had been to a licensed day care
26% of children attending were in informal child care arrangements
(Information from Glen Tay PS is not available)
How did parents learn about the program?
Largest number of families learned about the program from kindergarten registration nights. Many families received a call from a teacher or school staff member, heard about it from OEYC playgroups and word of mouth from friends and those who have had children attend previous programs.
- Kindergarten teachers know which students are associated with an agency upon entry to school.
- Portfolios of children’s work is created for kindergarten teachers to see.
- Parent comments very positive about their needs being met as well as children.
“This program has been wonderful for both H. and myself. We both feel more confident and secure about starting kindergarten. Thank you.”
- Parents could attend a kindergarten class with their child to see what it is like. 72 parents took the opportunity to attend a playtime with their child in the classroom.
- Registration process worked well using email
- Principal reports done for the week before school starts.
- Program goals were met in all areas.
- Staff reported high levels of satisfaction with professional development support
- Using principal surveys for feedback.
- Out of the five principal surveys received, all five felt that the program benefitted the family-school relationship and they would like to host another program next year.
Here is what parents said:
- “Very good idea, saves a lot of tears on first day.”
- I” feel that this program has been great for C. Now he knows what to expect for the first day of Kindergarten. I thank you very much for having the Step Into Kindergarten program.”
- “I’m glad we were able to participate in this program. A wonderful opportunity for m y child to get a feel for school. Thank you to all who make it possible.”
- “This program should be offered every year for beginners/kindergartens it’s very helpful”
- Parents want to choose one, two, three, four week models.
- Some kindergarten teachers do not want parents in the classroom while they are programming.
- Large class sizes.
- Children may not necessarily be with the same classmates in September. Where schools had their kindergarten lists drawn up, children could be grouped with who they were going to be with in September.
- Problem with having enough registrations in the schools that are just starting with this type of program in their community. Some of our higher needs schools have difficulty getting parent commitment which makes it difficult for staffing or knowing if the program will have enough children to run.
- Renovations happening in schools over the summer, difficult to have an inviting atmosphere and classrooms are being used for storage. Sharing of classroom resources can be an issue.
- Staff only being in the classroom the day of the program opening, not knowing where stuff is, how to enter school etc.
- More communication is needed with kindergarten teachers as they are the ones who will have these children in September and programs need to reflect what their classroom routines and program philosophy.
- Schools that have high registration we need to run two programs as there are so many children.
Considerations for 2011
Best Start indicated in previous minutes that a committee should be organized for Summer School Readiness Programming.
Best Start to determine funding for 2011.
Have defined roles for Hub Site Committee involvement.
OEYC to determine role in providing programming.
Suggestions of having agencies float by every site to offer help to families throughout the summer.
Need to budget for site visits with each kindergarten teacher – follow up and pre program
Determine costs for 4-6 hours of each program staff at each site, very difficult for new people to come and do program, meet parents and look like they belong there.
Determine what information would be helpful on the OEYC website to support parent’s information requests with what would help them help their child adjust to school.
How to deliver both Step Into Kindergarten and Stepping Stones as there is a community need for both.
On registration form add a section for parents to sign up for OEYC newsletter, 197 families could be added each year to the data base if they are not already receiving it.
“What a wonderful, kind, warm-hearted and professional introduction to the upcoming Kindergarten and a perfect way to comfort ‘freaking’ parents like me and my husband to not be worried at all. Thanks so much…”