Full-Day Kindergarten preparing students for success

Northern Lights Public Schools is celebrating the success of last year’s Kindergarten students and its full-day Kindergarten program.

“We are delighted to see that our Kindergarten students excelled in all areas of skill development in 2021-2022,” said Board Chair Karen Packard. “This is indicative of the efforts our staff have made to provide a high quality Kindergarten program and the commitment parents have made to support and encourage skill development at home.”

Northern Lights Public Schools uses the Early Years Evaluation (EYE) to assess student progress in five domains of skill development in Kindergarten. Those domains are: Awareness of Self and Environment, Social Skills and Approaches to Learning, Cognitive Skills, Language and Communications, and Physical Development (Fine and Gross Motor). Teachers assess students at the beginning of the year to determine what their level of development is and how much support they may need throughout the year. A second assessment is done near the end of the year to determine if there has been an improvement in skill development and if the student will require support when they move on to Grade 1.

In each of the domains, a minimum of 80% of students were able to achieve the identified tasks at the end of the year. The best results were in Awareness of Self and Environment, with 92% of students able to achieve tasks in that domain. The biggest area of improvement was in cognitive skills, which includes basic math and pre-reading skills as well as problem-solving, with 82% of students able to achieve the tasks at the end of the year, compared to 53% when the school year started.

“There was some concern about how the pandemic may have affected the skill development of students entering Kindergarten and how that would impact their learning,” explained Terry Moghrabi, Associate Superintendent Curriculum and Programming. “We were pleased to see that this year’s results were similar to what we saw pre-pandemic, both in terms of where students started at the beginning of the year and what they were able to achieve at the end of the year.”

Moghrabi compared this year’s EYE data with the results from 2018-2019, which was the last full school year that was not impacted by COVID-19. Both groups of students started the school year with similar levels of skill development. For instance, in the Language and Communication domain, at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year 70% of students could achieve the tasks and this improved to 89% at the end of the year. In 2021-2022, 67% of students could achieve the tasks at the beginning of the school year, improving to 89% at the end of the year.

Since 2018-2019, NLPS has also introduced a new model for its full-day Kindergarten program. Students spend half of their time with a teacher focused on meeting the outcomes of the provincially-mandated half-day Kindergarten curriculum, and the other half of their time with an Extension Educational Assistant who provides programming based on Flight: Alberta’s Early Learning and Care Curriculum Framework.

“We are pleased to continue to provide a full-day programming option that exceeds provincial requirements and maintains impressive outcomes, following a fiscally-responsible adjustment in delivery model,” said Packard.

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