Kindergarten (Ages 4-5)
What does a Reggio-inspired environment look like in Kindergarten?
Our learning spaces are beautiful. In the Reggio Emilia tradition the environment is clean, open, and inviting. The environment is filled with stunning materials, light tables, books, and furniture. The Junior and Senior Kindergarten classrooms also have their own washrooms and mini-atelier (art studio). The Kindergarten environment has been specifically designed to meet the development needs of children aged 4 to 5 years to build a strong foundation for literacy and numeracy.
Children in our Kindergarten program have access to the amazing facilities of our entire school, including our piazza (an open public space used for community gatherings), dramatic play centre, science lab, yoga and meditation room, full gymnasium, kitchen, and performing arts spaces. Kindergarten students also enjoy our outdoor play spaces and nature walks.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program (PYP) in Kindergarten
Young learners are intelligent, resourceful and creative individuals who grow, develop and learn at different rates. They explore their environment and learn about their world through play and relationships with peers, teachers, family and community members. Early learning in the PYP is a holistic learning experience that integrates socio-emotional, physical and cognitive development. In the PYP classroom, it takes place in dynamic environments that promote play, discovery and exploration.
The PYP is transdisciplinary, meaning students learn across subject areas while investigating big ideas.
In the PYP, students learn about significant concepts through units of inquiry. In Kindergarten they study four transdisciplinary themes that guide units of inquiry and compose a year of study are:
• Who we are
• How we express ourselves
• How the world works
• Sharing the planet.
Units of inquiry interweave subject areas such as mathematics, language arts, science and social studies. This approach encourages students to make connections between what they learn and how it relates to the world around them.
Taking action is intricate part of the IB inquiry cycle which could be interpreted as a “conclusion” to learning. When taking action, students make connections to new knowledge they have acquired and apply their skills in everyday life. This shows that students have a deep and lasting understanding, which can also be used to make connections to existing knowledge or to new questions. Actions are student-initiated activities that stem from a genuine concern and a desire to make a positive difference. Action might take the form of sharing new knowledge with others in order to increase others’ awareness of important issues, or it may be a project in response to needs of a particular community-locally or globally. Through action, students develop skills such as cooperation, problem solving, conflict resolution, and critical thinking, and they learn that even the smallest of us can make a difference.
Does Kindergarten have a curriculum?
Absolutely. Richland Academy’s Reggio-inspired Kindergarten program interweaves the province of Ontario’s Full-day Kindergarten curriculum with the IB framework. The Ontario curriculum is organized around four frames of learning: Belonging and Contributing, Self-Regulation and Well-Being, Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours, and Problem Solving and Innovating. The Ontario Kindergarten is highly regarded throughout the world for its focus on literacy and mathematics and inquiry-based learning.
When your child participates in the Kindergarten Program at Richland, they benefit from being part of the rich and rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) framework. Four IB themes are woven into the curriculum. These themes are Who We Are, How We Express Ourselves, How the World Works, and Sharing the Planet. The IB framework develops the intellectual, personal, social, and emotional skills children need to thrive in a rapidly globalizing and changing world.
Your child’s education in the Kindergarten Program is enhanced through the work of our specialist teachers. Across the two years of Kindergarten, the academic program is enriched through the teaching of Visual Arts, Music, French, and Health and Physical Education.
We report on your child’s progress three times during the school year, and our teachers are always happy to discuss the progress of children with their parents.
What does inquiry-based learning experiences look like in Kindergarten?
At the Kindergarten level, inquiry-based learning begins with carefully planned provocations. These provocations may take the form of an engaging question, an interesting object, a fascinating story, or a problem or puzzle. Learning centres, classroom spaces and materials are also carefully designed to foster an inquiry and stimulate learning.
Teachers design inquiries that can have multiple answers, and facilitate the children’s exploration of logical lines of investigation. Teachers prompt Kindergarten students to think deeply by asking: “Why?” “How?” and “What About?” As you can see in this graphic outlining inquiry-based learning in Kindergarten, this type of learning is multi-faceted and promotes rapid brain development.