Bruce Rodrigues, Toronto Catholic District School Board's director of education

Kindergarten enrolment in early January

  • January 1, 2013

TORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board will be holding registration for full-day kindergarten, both existing programs and new ones, beginning Jan. 8.

The initiative to bring in full-day kindergarten is in year three of five of a Ministry of Education-mandated timeline. Fortynine per cent of Toronto’s Catholic elementary schools already have full-day kindergarten programs. In September that number will rise to 75 per cent with the final quarter being implemented the following year.

Increasing the number of full-day kindergarten programs at Toronto’s Catholic schools will ease students into education, especially for those whose second language is English.

“When you have a large population of immigrant children and English as a second language is the norm for them, coming into the school setting where they will be exposed to the language of instruction much earlier and for double the amount of time is quite significant,” said Angela Gauthier, director of education for academic affairs for Toronto’s Catholic board. “We expect their English language skills to be that much better because of this initiative.”

About 30 per cent of residents speak a language other than English or French at home in Toronto.

The project is funded by the provincial government and will cost about $69 million.

To register, parents or guardians must provide the child’s birth certificate, proof of Catholicity, an Ontario health card and immunization record, and proof of Toronto residency.

“The nature of the program is inquiry and play-based learning which really means the kids aren’t sitting in rows having lessons pounded into them,” said Gauthier. “It really builds on the child’s natural curiosity. They’re learning by what they do best at that age, which is play.”
In addition to improving language skills, the full-day learning programs will seek to prepare students socially, introduce them to numbers and begin their formal Catholic education.

“This is a critical period when a child has the highest capacity to learn,” said Bruce Rodrigues, the board’s director of education. “We are dedicated to nurturing our students spiritually, academically, physically, socially and emotionally through a faith-based curriculum in a caring, Catholic environment.”

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