Ontario preparing ‘back to basics’ curriculum for kindergarten

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Published January 23, 2024 at 12:44 pm

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce is extending his “back to basics” curriculum push into kindergarten.

The government plans to spend the next year consulting on new mandatory learning to include in the kindergarten curriculum, including the foundations of coding, and plans to release it in the spring of 2025 for implementation that September.

Lecce says it will ensure students have strong reading, writing and math skills when they enter Grade 1.

The government has introduced new elementary curricula in math, science and language in recent years, and Lecce often touts a “back-to-basics” approach.

Officials say the changes they envision to the kindergarten curriculum will better link it with the updated requirements in Grade 1.

They say what will not change is the full-day nature of the kindergarten program, the current teacher and early childhood educator staffing model, or the play-based learning approach.

Officials say the changes will be about making curriculum expectations more explicit and clear, in response to recommendations from the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Right to Read report, which looked at how to address systemic issues that affect learning to read.

Government officials say new learning would include understanding sound-letter relationships, developing phonics knowledge, and using specific vocabulary.

It is also set to include learning about the concept of fractions, as well as the foundations of coding such as sequencing.

“It’s critical that our youngest students develop core foundational skills earlier on in their lives,” Lecce wrote in a statement.

“That is why we are introducing a new kindergarten curriculum that will help to lay the foundation for strong reading, writing and math skills from day one. Our government will continue to relentlessly advance back to basics education that restores the focus on academic achievement, common sense, and excellence in literacy and STEM disciplines.”

The current kindergarten curriculum has been in place since 2016.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2024.

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

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