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Welcome to Kindergarten™

A great education begins with a great kindergarten experience.
One in four children who starts kindergarten is not ready for their first day in the classroom. Starting school can be exciting or stressful for four-year-olds and their parents/caregivers. We want to make starting school an exciting, successful and happy experience.
 
Our Welcome to Kindergarten™ program helps prepare pre-kindergarten children for a positive start to their school journey. Parents/caregivers and their children attend orientation sessions at their neighbourhood school where they receive early learning and literacy resources, and learn how to use them at home. The orientation helps create the foundation for positive relationships between parents, teachers and community agencies that sets the stage for a smooth transition to school and future success. 

The Welcome to Kindergarten program is a unique parent engagement strategy that brings together parents, children, schools and community service agencies to achieve the goal of giving parents/caregivers the strategies, resources and all the support necessary to make early learning activity and play a priority in the home – to prepare the child for a fun and successful first year in school.
 
We aspire to continue making the first day in the classroom a happy and successful experience for all pre-school children in all communities in Canada. We will continue to collaborate with schools, business and community agencies to implement the Welcome to Kindergarten program as an integral tool to support families of pre-school children.


Who benefits from the Welcome to Kindergarten™ Program?

Pre-school children:

Builds foundations for learning for children, so starting kindergarten can be a happy, exciting and successful experience. The Welcome to Kindergarten bag is filled with valuable resources and activities that help children develop:
 
  • Listening and speaking
  • Sharing and turn-taking
  • Self-regulation, self-confidence
  • Vocabulary, following directions
  • Print, alphabet and number awareness
  • Enjoyment of stories and books
  • Hand and finger coordination for cutting, colouring, pasting, writing
  • Creative thinking and exploring

Parents/Caregivers:

Empowers parents/caregivers to be the child’s first and best teacher. They receive the support and expertise through this program to use early learning activities and play with their children. Family orientations in the schools build mutual trust and confidence. Families also receive our popular Welcome to Kindergarten bag filled with books, games and invaluable information resources.

School and Community Service:

Encourages school personnel to reach out to local community service agencies to collaborate, plan and deliver their Welcome to Kindergarten Family orientations. This is a win-win for all. Benefits include:
 
  • School teams learn of the early childhood expertise in their community
  • Community agencies develop positive relationships with schools and build awareness of their family support programs
  • Families learn of the support in their community and hear common messages


How the Welcome to Kindergarten™ Program Works


Program roll-out
 
  • In the year before starting school, parents/caregivers and their children are invited to attend one or more Welcome to Kindergarten Family orientations at their neighbourhood school and/or community partner agency.
  • Families participate in activities using books, magnetic numbers and letters, arts and craft, music and movement and games. Families meet school principals, kindergarten teachers, school resource personnel, and staff from community support agencies.
  • Educators provide training on why and how family planned activities using the resources in the Welcome to Kindergarten bag will help their children be better prepared for school and learning.
  • Every family receives the Welcome to Kindergarten bag full with books, activities, resources and the parent information page Have fun and help your child get ready for school. Parent information is available in over 27 languages.
 

 

Training for Educators and Community Partners
 
 

The Welcome to Kindergarten™ team trains educators and community partners to implement the program in their community. E-Learning is provided through our online training program to all educators and community partners registered to participate in the Welcome to Kindergarten program. Extension and enrichment resources have been developed to support the WTK program and continued use of the resources. Please see WTK, Early Learning Resources.

Program Evaluation

The Learning Partnership regularly evaluates the impact of the Welcome to Kindergarten program on early literacy and school readiness of children. We also value your voice - that is why we ask participating families to complete our parent survey in order to help us improve the Welcome to Kindergarten experience and set up more children for success at school.

 
We aspire to….
Continue making the first day in the classroom a happy and successful experience for all pre-school children in all communities in Canada. We will continue to collaborate with schools, business and community agencies to implement the Welcome to Kindergarten program as an integral tool to support families of pre-school children.

Early Learning Resources offers extension and enrichment resources have been developed to support the WTK program and continued use of the resources. 
 
Program Evaluations:
The Learning Partnership regularly evaluates the impact of the Welcome to Kindergarten™ program on early literacy and school readiness of children. For details click on link.
 
Meet our sponsors   
Meet the WTK

Take our parents survey
 
 
Did You know
  • Researchers have found that parents’ engagement in their children’s education has a significant impact on their academic and development goals” – Epstein, 2001; Nye, Turner and Schwartz, 2006
  • 1 in 4 children who start kindergarten is not ready for their first day in the class room
  • 12% of older siblings are frequently involved in early learning at home and can help younger siblings
  • Over 600,000 children and families have  participated since 2004 in the Welcome to Kindergarten program
  • Over 110,000 families and  2,800 schools in Ontario, New Brunswick, Alberta, BC, Manitoba and PEI participated in 2013-2014
  • Parent information is available in 27 languages

 
For more information, contact:

John Howard
Welcome to Kindergarten
National Program Manager
416 440 5118


Special thanks to our partners:

 

TD Bank
 
 
Brandon Community Area Foundation
 
 
Conifex
 
 
McCain
 
 
The Winnipeg Foundation
 
 
The Thomas Sill Foundation