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The Wellington Catholic District School board has implemented the provincial government’s new Early Learning Kindergarten Program (ELKP). The ELKP requires all school boards in Ontario to begin a five-year roll out of full day kindergarten classes. Full-day kindergarten will give Ontario’s four- and five-year-olds a strong foundation for their learning. This program is being offered in 5 of our schools in September 2010, growing to 6 schools in September 2011.
In selecting locations for the initial full day kindergarten classes, the board considered the following criteria: > The schools where students will benefit the most by the early introduction of full day kindergarten
> The existing facility meets the physical requirements for a full day program
> The impact on local child care businesses

Our current ELKP schools for the 2010-2011 school year are:
St. Mary Catholic School, Mount Forest (2 classes)
St. John Catholic School, Arthur (1 class)
St. John Brebeuf Catholic School, Erin (2 classes)
Sacred Heart Catholic School, Guelph (2 classes)
St. Joseph Catholic School, Guelph (2 classes)

In 2011-2012 St. Peter Catholic School, Guelph will be an ELKP site.
In full-day kindergarten classrooms, teachers and early childhood educators (ECEs) work together to help children learn and grow during the regular school day. Together, they blend learning and play throughout the day. Research indicates that there is a strong link between play and learning for young children, especially in the areas of problem solving, language and number skills, and social, physical and emotional skills. Children will take part in spontaneous play and also in more structured play-based learning, under the guidance of the teacher and the ECE.
There activities will help children to think creatively, explore and investigate, solve problems and share the learning with others. Teachers and ECEs in ELKP classrooms will be guided by a new curriculum document which is designed to help students develop the skills that provide a good foundation for becoming life -long learners.
Currently, the Wellington Catholic District School Board is working with independent daycare operators to provide before and after-school care.
The Wellington Catholic District School Board is investing in the education of our youngest students to better prepare them for future success. Full-day kindergarten will improve their reading, writing and math skills, provide a smoother transition to Grade 1, help more students achieve success at school, and provide a strong foundation for success in school and throughout life. For more information about the program, please visit www.ontario.ca/earlylearning.