Is Your Child Starting School in September 2019?
Your child will be eligible to enroll in Junior Kindergarten the year they are four years old, and Senior Kindergarten the year they are five. All schools in the province now provide the play-based Full Day Kindergarten. Kindergarten registration starts this month at most school boards.
For most parents, preparing their child for school can be a stressful time, and it can be even more so for parents of a child with special needs. Students with special needs may require additional kinds of support. This can make the entry into school more complex, requiring planning and coordination ahead of time and throughout their school years.
The first place to start is by contacting the local school. To find your nearest school, you can use the Find a School link on the Ministry of Education website at:
All school boards want you to start the registration process at your nearest school, even if there may be an option for your child at another school.
Staff at your child’s preschool program or from an agency that supports your child’s special needs, such as a Children’s Treatment Centre, may be able to help you with the transition. Ask the professionals that work with your child about the local school board transition process. You can also find out about Kindergarten registration and transition to school on the school board website.
Share Information about Your Child:
When you contact the school about Kindergarten registration, it’s important to be open about your child’s needs. This information is vital in planning for an effective transition to school. If you are not sure what information to share, ask the school what information they need, or talk to the people who will be supporting your child about what information the school may require.
Some parents are hesitant about sharing information with the school, but sharing information is essential for proper planning. Parents can organize information about their child by creating an All About Me booklet that includes:
- A photograph of your child
- A list of things your child likes and interests
- Information on key people in your child’s life, such as siblings, and grandparents, and professionals, such as Speech-Language Pathologists or Physiotherapists
- Information about activities that are challenging for your child, such as mobility or fine motor activities
- Ideas on how to help your child with their challenges, such as communication systems or mobility devices
- Copies of recent assessment reports about your child
Parents can also ask the people who work with their child about how to organize information about your child and what reports to share.
Learn about the School System and Special Education Supports
It is vital that you become a partner in your child’s education by familiarizing yourself with the special education system. This includes learning how to work effectively with school staff, professionals and community agencies, to get the support your child will need to be successful.
The Ministry of Education has a document called Planning Entry to School: A Resource Guide designed to facilitate the planning process of preparing your child to begin school. The material is available at the Ministry of Education website at http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/planningentry.html. You can check pages 28-31 for specific information for students with special needs.
The Ministry of Education document, Special Education in Ontario, Kindergarten to Grade 12, Policy and Resource Guide is also a great resource. It includes information on special education policies and processes. You can download a copy at:
For more strategies on smooth transitions check the Easter Seals Kids at School Blog articles:
Free Transition to School Workshop in Toronto
On February 21, 2019 Silver Creek Centre for Early Learning & Development are hosting a parent workshop, Making the Transition to School Work at the:
Trident Banquet Hall – 145 Evans Avenue
All participants are asked to register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/making-the-transition-to-school-work-tickets-54981615492
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