Overview

You can choose to send your four- and five-year old child to school for kindergarten. While kindergarten is not mandatory for four- and five-year-old children, research shows that it gives children a solid foundation for future learning.

Kindergarten:

Children will have learning opportunities to investigate, problem solve and collaborate as they make sense of the world around them. Students in kindergarten are under the guidance of an educator team that includes a teacher and, where there are more than 16 students, an early childhood educator (ECE).

When children turn six years old, they must attend school in September of that year.

Benefits for your child

Benefits of kindergarten include:

  • a stronger start in school
    • improves early reading, writing and math skills
    • provides a strong foundation for future learning
    • makes the transition to Grade 1 easier for both you and your child
  • more time with classmates
    • gives the opportunity to socialize with other children
    • develops social and academic skills for future success
  • a seamless and integrated day
    • provides familiar surroundings with staff and friends
    • avoids moving between different programs and locations

Costs

There is no cost to parents or guardians to send their child to kindergarten. It is a part of the publicly funded school system.

Classroom activities

Classroom activities help children learn through play and inquiry.

Play-based learning is designed to help children develop a strong foundation for learning in all areas including:

  • problem solving and creative thinking
  • thinking critically about ideas and information in literacy and math
  • learning to think for themselves, understanding their feelings and those around them, recognizing and respecting differences in others, and assessing the consequences of their actions
  • understanding their connections, contributions and relationships with others as part of a group, a community and the natural world
  • developing socially and emotionally through their relationships with other children and the educators who guide them
  • developing as a citizen, through a sense of personal connectedness to various communities, like their class and their school

You will receive regular updates on your child's learning in many different ways such as:

  • informal meetings with the educator team, including chatting after school, phone calls, notes, home-school communication books
  • school and class websites, newsletters, blogs, apps
  • parent-teacher or parent-teacher-child conferences
  • written communication of learning reports

The teacher and early childhood educator team

In kindergarten classrooms with more than 16 students, an educator team made up of a teacher and an early childhood educator work together to help students learn in a safe and healthy learning environment. ECEs have knowledge of early childhood development. They focus on age-appropriate planning that promotes each child’s physical, cognitive, language, emotional, social and creative development and well-being.

Teachers have a knowledge of the broader elementary curriculum, assessment, evaluation, reporting and child development. They are responsible for student learning, effective instruction and evaluation, and formal reporting to parents, which is based on the teacher and ECE’s assessment of a child’s progress.

The teacher and ECE are guided by the 2016 Kindergarten Program document, which is based on research about child development and how children learn best.

At schools that offer the integrated before- and after-school program, two ECEs work in the kindergarten classroom. For example, one may run the before-school program and work in the classroom with the teacher during the morning, and the second may arrive around lunchtime and work with the teacher in the afternoon and run the after-school program.

At schools that don’t offer a before- and after-school program, there may be a single ECE working alongside the teacher during the entire school day.

Transportation

Your school board may provide transportation to and from school during regular school hours, for example arriving at school at 8:45 a.m. and leaving the school to go home at 3:15 p.m.

You are responsible for arranging for transportation if you choose to send your child to school at different times. This includes getting your child to and from before- and after-school programs.

Resources for parents

Learn more about the kindergarten program and tips to support your child’s learning at home: