Schools welcome children entering kindergarten next year

Kindergarten teachers Melissa Brownlow and Bethany Bernard; Welcome to Kindergarten Program Manager Ken Gaudet; Education and Lifelong Learning Minister Brad Trivers; and children who will be entering kindergarten next year at Gulf Shore Consolidated.

Schools are making special efforts this month to welcome 1,350 pre-schoolers who will be entering kindergarten next year and their parents. 

The Welcome to Kindergarten program is being offered by 43 schools to give families a chance to tour their new school, meet teachers and administrators, and learn how they can support their child’s learning by nurturing literacy at home.

“Having a child enter public school can be an exciting but challenging transition for parents,” said Education and Lifelong Learning Minister Brad Trivers. “I encourage parents to attend a Welcome to Kindergarten session, knowing first-hand how the program can help families get off to a good start when their child enters the public school system.”

Kindergarten classrooms have been equipped with many new resources through a new investment of $250,000. Every English kindergarten classroom has 311 new books that support independent reading and more choice based on a child’s interests and reading level.  French language classrooms were provided with some literacy resources as well as a variety of new play-based learning resources such as active play resources, educational games and toys.

At Welcome to Kindergarten sessions, parents actively engage with their children at several stations which highlight the value of play-based learning, for example:

  • Read-aloud stations help parents to model reading that builds vocabulary, knowledge and awareness of letters and numbers. 
  • Cutting and pasting stations highlight the impact of fine motor skills on learning, while physical education stations stress the importance of gross motor skill development. 
  • Music stations may illustrate the benefits of using song or dance to build oral language, patterning and a sense of belonging.

The program is supported by several community partners, including the Public Library Service, Public Health Nursing, Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI, PEI Home and School Federation and La Fédération des parents de l’Î.-P.-É. .

Each family is presented with a Welcome to Kindergarten bag which contains books, craft supplies, CDs and resources that encourage families to read, play and learn together at home.

 “Welcome to Kindergarten aligns closely with our own education programs and goals for reconciliation,” said MCPEI Education Director Allan Gillis. “We are happy to be part of this valuable program for all Island parents and pleased to increase understanding of Indigenous culture in the early years.”
MCPEI has supported the program for several years by providing a book on Indigenous culture to each family. This year the 1,240 bags will include a new book about reconciliation, entitled “You Hold Me Up.” The book encourages children to be kind, to show love and support for each other, and to consider each other’s well-being every day. 

Welcome to Kindergarten is a national program that has been offered in PEI for 10 years. Last year 1,189 Island families participated in sessions at 37 schools in the Public Schools Branch and 100 families took part in Bienvenue `a la maternelle at six schools in the French Language School Board.

A schedule of sessions can be found at Welcome to Kindergarten for 2019.

Media contact:
Jean Doherty
Education, Early Learning and Culture 902-314-5702

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