Feature stories

Full-day kindergarten in Northern Ontario


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Kenora, Ontario

Tim Flynn, principal, Evergreen Public School: Our board has a high percentage of Aboriginal students and we want to reflect the Aboriginal culture in what we do for our students on a daily basis. The research tells us that students need to see themselves reflected in what they're learning, the learning has to be authentic, the learning has to be meaningful. So we have a couple of situations where we went and, for our guided reading program, have ordered strictly Aboriginal books.

As a principal, having them every day, five days a week, they're just growing in leaps and bounds in their oral language and their reading and their writing, in their self-regulation. When you look at the whole child, it's just better all the way around.

Kerri Favreau, teacher, St. Louis Separate School: I think the full-day program has really given the students an opportunity to explore things more deeply because we see that they become more immersed in what they're doing. The school needs to be a familiar place for them so when we make that effort to make it familiar for them and welcome their families and welcome their ideas and experiences, they develop a sense of belonging here.

Jim Green, elder: They're bringing elders into the classroom. This birch bark, in my language, is called weegwas. Weegwas. Can you say that?

Student: Weegwas.

Jim Green: Yes, weegwas.

And the elders are sharing their knowledge with the students. It's always nice to visit classrooms, to be with the students and watching them learn. They're very eager to learn.