Tag Archives: Education

Full day learning in junior kindergarten

by Amanda

My son J is turning 5 this month.  This past September brought about a huge change in his life.  He started junior kindergarten (JK).  His school was one of the first to introduce Full Day Learning in JK.  I was concerned at first that this would be too much for such a little person.  I was worried that the afternoon might essentially be a waste because he would be too tired to learn anything since he was used to napping for at least 2 hours in the PMs.  I have been pleasantly surprised.  Maybe for the first month this was the case.  Most of the kids seemed to be falling asleep on the floor during quiet time and so was he, until about mid-October.  Around this time, he stopped napping altogether.  Instead, he was falling asleep in his dinner!  This lasted maybe for a couple of weeks and then it was done.  The nap was gone and he was fully adjusted to going to school full time.

He has come a long way in his learning since starting school.  It has been a really good experience for him.  He had good skills going in, he could identify most of the letters, could count at least to 15, and had no issues with speech and language as a preschooler.  His language developed, in my opinion, normally, once he started talking, there was no way to make him stop!

The curriculum has been very appropriate for him.

They have covered the different seasons:

They have learned the days of the week, months of the year and all major holidays.

They learned about animals and hibernation, migration, and adaptation.

His class learned about a foreign country – Guyana, and students were asked to bring in socks and shoes to donate since those items are not easily accessed in that country.

He is also really enjoying French time.  His articulation is really good and he has an amazing memory, so he is retaining many of the words he has learned.  We have two cats so he is quite fond of the words “chat et lion”.

Mon gars, il adore les chansons en français ie.”Tête, épaules, genoux, orteilles”, et aussi il a bien aimé l’histoire “Petit poulet” que l’éducatrice a racontée.  Their most recent unit was all about fairy tales.  They watched the movie Rapunzel and J particularly enjoyed The Three Little Pigs.  From a science perspective, the kids had a presentation from “Scientists in Schools”.  They did their own dinosaur dig, and got to see some experiments done in their classroom.  They watched things change colour and change states of matter.  J was super excited to tell me all about it when he came home that day.

On the social side of things, he has made some friends, loves to play Transformers with his two buddies during recess, he attended one birthday party and will soon be having one of his own.  At this point in time he is an only child, so I am thrilled that he is getting the hang of being around lots of kids and learning to communicate with them and problem-solve their day to day issues.  They have learned about Kelso’s Choices, a problem-solving strategy for kids to use.  His teachers are telling me that he is using these strategies when a conflict arises, so I am quite happy about that.

As the end of the school year approaches he is now able to read Level 1 books with only some minor difficulties.  He can write his name not too badly, and is interested now more than ever in making crafts.  Before starting school he definitely did not have the attention span for those kinds of things.

Overall, as a parent, I really think the full day learning has been really good for my son. He was ready to go to school.  He is a like a little sponge and he just takes things and runs with them.  And he remembers what he has learned.  Like any other kid he needs some help and some prompts, but I am really glad to see that he has progressed this far and am very hopeful that SK will bring a similar experience.

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Amanda was born and raised in Ottawa where she continues to live with her husband and son “J”. Amanda is bilingual and interests include reading, blogging, socializing, and advocacy on children and teen issues.

Kids in the Capital: Call for Events

by Karen

We’re calling on our community a LOT this year! We hope you enjoy and find the changes we’re implementing to be very useful.

Our latest announcement is one that I am quite excited about. The Kids in the Capital blog focuses on events and activities that families have done and who want to share their experience with the community.

We want to enhance our offering to provide information about upcoming events in the Ottawa area so we’ve created a brand-new Events page!

This page is going to be community curated. If you know of something that’s going on that would be of interest to families with children of all ages, we’d love for you to share it with us for the community. (There’s a form below the calendar with all the fields of information we need to know.)

Given the awesomely active community that we have around Kids in the Capital, I’m certain that this calendar will become a go to resource for family-friendly fun in Ottawa!

And we thank you all for your help!

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KIC Gives Back: Youville Centre & Kindness Week

Every month here at Kids in the Capital, we want to highlight an opportunity to give back to the greater Ottawa community, particularly when there are families in need. This month, we’ve chosen to be part of a campaign to raise awareness of the Youville Centre’s work for Ottawa during Kindness Week. We hope that you’ll enjoy learning more about this organization and how you can help!

by Diana

On a snowy day in early January, I had the opportunity join two other women, Karen Wilson of Karen’s Chronicles, and Andrea Tomkins of A Peek Inside the Fishbowl, for a tour of the Youville Centre on Mann Avenue in Ottawa, in honour of Kindness Week. Youville Centre is “an innovative centre that motivates, educates and nurtures young parents and their children to become contributing members of society.” It’s a centre that fills a genuine and important need by providing high-risk teen mothers with education, child care and support, mental health services, and assistance in linking to various community resources to help them build the skills to move forward with their lives withself-confidence and self-worth. In helping the young mothers, Youville is helping their children, which can be a powerful and lasting way to bring that small family unit in a direction towards growth and positivity it might otherwise have not. This is how a family’s cycle of abuse, neglect, poverty can be changed for the better.

First impression of Youville Centre is of a bright, clean, open space. It’s located in a renovated school building, which seems to suit its needs well. While there’s a dedicated and well-trained staff, it’s clear that volunteers have an important role as well. We were met by Heather Heagney, the communications officer. We began the tour. Our first stop was the gymnasium, which serves as kitchen and cafeteria, large play room for the toddlers, and sorting area for donations. As we continued the tour, we saw the classrooms, which include a kitchen, allowing the teens to learn how to prepare and cook food, a valuable life skill. We saw the counseling rooms and the baby wing, where the children, from tiny nurslings to toddlers, are cared for, fed and taught. If the mother is nursing her baby, she may have leave to come to feed her baby whenever the baby is hungry.

Youville exists in co-operation with a number of community organizations: businesses that provide work-place training, clinics and centres that provide legal, health, education, housing and job-placement services, and local colleges, technical learning centres and universities. There are grant-funded support services as well, such as bursaries provided to both Youville alumnae and to former Youville students’ children for post-secondary education. In providing these community connections and services, Youville provides continuing “after Youville” support to the young women and their children.

Youville couldn’t exist without the support of volunteers and donors, both financial gifts and “gift in kind” – the gift of your time. Please check out Youville’s website to learn about the story behind the centre, to see more photos of the women and children who have benefitted from Youville’s services and to find out how you can get involved.

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Diana Coote is a co-owner of Onya Baby, a family-owned company that believes in family, in connectedness and in adventure. The Onya Baby philosophy is that parents can include their babies in everyday life and and show their babies the world. The products that they make are designed to complement the family bond and free parents to live life more fully with their children.