Manual provides framework for junior and senior kindergarten teachers
The Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) has released its inaugural Kindergarten Resource Manual to provide a framework for junior and senior kindergarten teachers.
Hugo Marcus, OACS director of curriculum publications, says the manual was developed to help local schools provide a consistent approach to junior and senior kindergarten. In the last seven to 10 years junior and senior kindergarten programs have sprung up in member schools, he adds.
Prior to this manual there was nothing in place for the kindergarten teachers as a reference guide or resource manual.
“The manual was intended to bring those teachers together and to give them some common understandings for junior and senior kindergarten,” Marcus says.
The kindergarten advisory committee, initially led by Jules DeJager, has been working on the manual for three years. Members of the kindergarten advisory committee are Jody Bevaart, Ina Groeneweg, Jenny Kamerman, Ann Taylor, Laurie Tuckey and Tina Van Beveren.
The manual explores four and five year olds learning development stages, spiritual characteristics, social and emotional development, cognitive development, growth and fine motor development, language and communication. It includes a new OACS junior and senior kindergarten report card. The OACS expectations are in line with the Ministry of Education expectations and outcomes.
The also manual gives rationale for why kindergarten is included at OACS schools.
“One of the things that we don’t want to do is simply put programs in place because they are out there in the publicly funded systems, we need to develop rationales and justifications for inclusion in our educational system that fit with what OACS schools stand for,” Marcus says.
The manual states “the OACS encourages member schools to implement both junior and senior kindergarten whenever locally viable. Kindergarten programs are increasingly an integral part of the educational experience of young children and provide valuable educational and social preparation for the Grade 1 year.”
The manual is “continually under construction” over the 18 months as more sections are added.
The manual was presented at the Ontario Christian School Teachers Association (OCSTA) convention Oct. 23. There were approximately 70 kindergarten teachers from OACS schools who attended the workshop. The teachers were walked through sections of the manual and took part in breakout sessions on curriculum resources and best practices, two pieces still being worked on.
Laurentian Hills Christian School in Kitchener senior kindergarten teacher Yvonne Grootenboer attended the workshop and says the manual will help with assessments and knowing student goals and achievements.
“It was very well planned,” she says. “It’s nice to have the binder.”
Teacher Cheryl Bootsma says it’s beneficial to have the expectations laid out “so that there’s consistency across all the OACS schools, that way we are all working from the same guidelines.”
Knox Christian School in Bowmanville kindergarten teacher Corrie De Jong says she has anticipated the new manual and looks forward to the final product.
“I’m really excited about it,” she says, noting she likes the idea that they can continue to share ideas and add to the resource.