2019 Addendum

PDF, The 2019 Addendum to The Kindergarten Program – Revised Specific Expectations 6.4 and 24.1, 84 KB


This document supersedes The Full-Day Early Learning–Kindergarten Program (Draft Version, 2010‑11). Beginning in September 2016, all Kindergarten programs will be based on the expectations and pedagogical approaches outlined in this document.

Elementary schools for the twenty-first century

Ontario elementary schools strive to support high-quality learning while giving every child the opportunity to learn in the way that is best suited to the child's individual strengths and needs. The Kindergarten program is designed to help every child reach his or her full potential through a program of learning that is coherent, relevant, and age appropriate. It recognizes that, today and in the future, children need to be critically literate in order to synthesize information, make informed decisions, communicate effectively, and thrive in an ever-changing global community. It is important for children to be connected to the curriculum, and to see themselves in what is taught, how it is taught, and how it applies to the world at large. The curriculum recognizes that the needs of learners are diverse and helps all learners develop the knowledge, skills, and perspectives they need to become informed, productive, caring, responsible, and active citizens in their own communities and in the world.

The introduction of a full day of learning for four- and five-year-olds in Ontario called for transformational changes in the pedagogical approaches used in Kindergarten, moving from a traditional pedagogy to one centred on the child and informed by evidence from research and practice about how young children learn. The insights of educators in the field, along with knowledge gained from national and international research on early learning, have informed the development of the present document.


The Ontario government introduced Kindergarten ‑ a two-year program for four- and five-year-olds ‑ as part of its initiative to create a cohesive, coordinated system for early years programs and services across the province. Milestones in the creation of that system include the following:

  • In 2007, the government published Early Learning for Every Child Today: A Framework for Ontario Early Childhood Settings, commonly referred to as ELECT, which set out six principles to guide practice in early years settings:
    1. Positive experiences in early childhood set the foundation for lifelong learning, behaviour, health, and well-being.
    2. Partnerships with families and communities are essential.
    3. Respect for diversity, equity, and inclusion is vital.
    4. An intentional, planned program supports learning.
    5. Play and inquiry are learning approaches that capitalize on children's natural curiosity and exuberance.
    6. Knowledgeable, responsive, and reflective educators are essential.

ELECT is recognized as a foundational document in the early years sector. It provided a shared language and common understanding of children's learning and development for early years professionals as they work together in various early childhood settings. The principles of ELECT informed provincial child care policy as well as pan-Canadian early learning initiatives such as the Statement on Play of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. ELECT principles were embedded in the innovative Kindergarten program outlined in The Full-Day Early Learning–Kindergarten Program (Draft Version, 2010–11).

  • The Ontario Early Years Policy Framework, released in 2013 and also based on ELECT, set the stage for the creation of the new early years system, providing a vision to ensure that children, from birth to age six, would have the best possible start in life. The policy framework guides Ontario's approach to the development and delivery of early years programs and services for children and families.
  • How Does Learning Happen? Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years, released in 2014, built on this policy framework. It sets out a fundamental understanding of children, families, and educators that is shared by educators across child care and education settings, and a pedagogical framework that supports children's transition from child care to Kindergarten and the elementary grades.
  • The present document – The Kindergarten Program (2016) – sets out principles, expectations for learning, and pedagogical approaches that are developmentally appropriate for four- and five-year-old children and that align with and extend the approaches outlined in How Does Learning Happen?

Supporting Children's Well-Being and Ability to Learn

Promoting the healthy development of all children and students, as well as enabling all children and students to reach their full potential, is a priority for educators across Ontario. Children's health and well-being contribute to their ability to learn, and that learning in turn contributes to their overall well-being.

Educators play an important role in promoting the well-being of children and youth by creating, fostering, and sustaining a learning environment that is healthy, caring, safe, inclusive, and accepting. A learning environment of this kind will support not only children's cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development but also their mental health, their resilience, and their overall state of well-being. All this will help them achieve their full potential in school and in life.

A focus on well-being in the early stages of a child's development is of critical importance. The Kindergarten Program integrates learning about well-being into the program expectations and pedagogy related to "Self-Regulation and Well-Being", one of the four "frames", or broad areas of learning, in Kindergarten. Educators take children's well-being into account in all aspects of the Kindergarten program. A full discussion of what educators need to know to promote children's well-being in all developmental domains, and to support children's learning about their own and others' well-being, is provided in Chapter 2.2, "Thinking about Self-Regulation and Well-Being".

Foundations for a Healthy School

Ontario schools provide all children in Kindergarten and all students in Grades 1 to 12 with a safe and healthy environment for learning. Children's learning in Kindergarten helps them make informed decisions about their health and well-being and encourages them to lead healthy, active lives. This learning is most authentic and effective when it occurs within the context of a "healthy" school – one in which children's learning about health and well-being is reinforced through policies, programs, and initiatives that promote health and well-being.

The Ministry of Education's Foundations for a Healthy School: Promoting Well-Being as Part of Ontario's Achieving Excellence Vision identifies how schools and school boards, in partnership with parentsfootnote 1 and the community, can develop a healthier school. The foundations for a healthy school are built using a comprehensive, integrated approach within five broad, interconnected areas. These five areas, which align closely with the K-12 School Effectiveness Framework (2013), are as follows:

  • Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning
  • School and Classroom Leadership
  • Student Engagement
  • Social and Physical Environments
  • Home, School, and Community Partnerships

Collectively, the strategies, policies, and initiatives that schools undertake within these areas contribute to a positive school climate, in which all members of the school community feel safe, included, and accepted and which promotes positive, respectful interactions and healthy relationships.

The principles and pedagogical approaches that define the Kindergarten program promote healthy-school principles and practices in all five of the areas noted above. Children's learning in the frames "Belonging and Contributing" and "Self-Regulation and Well-Being" is focused on knowledge and skills related to health and well-being. More detailed information about the ways in which the Kindergarten program promotes children's health and well-being in all five areas may be found in the following sections and chapters:


  • footnote[1] Back to paragraph The word “parents” is used in this document to refer to parent(s) and guardian(s). It may also be taken to include caregivers or close family members who are responsible for raising the child.