TRY OUR COMPREHENSIVE LEARNING CURRICULUM IN BURLINGTON
Brant Children's Centre has developed a Comprehensive Learning Curriculum (CLC) that encompasses all of the core components of the Kindergarten and Primary Curriculum Frameworks developed by the Ministry of Education. However, our CLC goes much further than Board expectations. Our aim is to expose the children of Burlington to as wide an array of experiences as possible.
To ensure each child is developing skills and having fun at our daycare in Burlington, we employ a Comprehensive Learning Curriculum that focuses on:
Language and Literacy – with an emphasis on teaching children to read
Mathematics – teaching basic math concepts in areas of numbers and numeration, measurement, patterning, geometry and shapes, and data management
Science, Technology and STEM activities – which includes exploration and experiments, computers, Wiz-Tech, Roots & Shoots
The Arts – offering visual arts (painting, drawing, etc.), music and movement, dance, and drama
Personal and Social Development – teaching manners and ethics, sports, teamwork, life skills, conflict resolution, swimming lessons (for Kindergarten children)
“An enriched academic curriculum, where individual and group work are fostered, becomes a catalyst for students to learn to problem solve, to think critically and to develop both the cognitive and social skills necessary for success in a changing and increasingly diverse environment.”
(Dr. H. Knoepfli, 2006)
LANGUAGE AND LITERACY CURRICULUM
Language and literacy are the pillars of our Comprehensive Learning Curriculum. It includes a unique Printing Program as well as a phonetically based Learning to Read Program.
We develop language through stories, rhymes, conversation and sign language.
We start our Learning to Read Program by introducing alphabet letters and sounds.
Our focus is on phonetics (sounds) and letters, enhanced vocabulary and developing oral communication skills.
Building on the preschool foundation, we emphasize word building, word reading and, finally, sentence reading.
By the end of our SK year, most of our graduates are beginner readers, a critical skill if children are to be successful in Grade One and beyond.
Mathematical concepts and principles are a puzzle to many adults. At Brant Children's Centre, we believe that if basic math concepts are introduced in the early years clearly and in a simple to more difficult sequence, young children can grasp numbers, numeration, basic measurement principles, the importance of patterning and organization or data management.
We use The Learning Carpet as a primary resource in our mathematics program, starting in the Preschool Department.
In our Kindergarten Program, we use a number of Montessori materials to reinforce math concepts and to teach children to problem-solve independently.
By the end of the SK year, our students have:
Explored numbers to 100 and 100s to 1000,
Explored ordinal numbers beyond 10,
Used materials not necessarily familiar to the learner,
And explored some basic abstract math concepts that we feel are important to learn at an early age.
"Mathematics helps children make sense of their world. Understanding math concepts at an early age sets a foundation for mathematical understanding in later years. More complicated areas of mathematics, such as calculus and trigonometry, are understood only if the individual has a firm grasp of basic math concepts." (Dr. H. Knoepfli, 2004)
ROOTS & SHOOTS PROGRAM
Roots & Shoots is a global environment and humanitarian educational program developed by the Jane Goodall Institute.
We were one of the first Roots & Shoots groups in Canada.
“The mission is to foster respect and compassion for all living things to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs and to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for the environment, animals and the human community.” – Jane Goodall Institute
The tools for effecting change are:
Knowledge and understanding,
Persistence and hard work,
Love and compassion,
And respect for all life.
“Roots spread underground and make a firm foundation. Shoots seem small and weak, but to reach the light, they can break through brick walls. The roots and shoots are young children. The brick walls are all the problems that we humans have inflicted on our planet.”
Since the mid-1980s, Brant Children's Centre has been interested in developing activities that today are called STEM, multi-disciplinary activities that include Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. We call these activities – WIZ-TECH CHALLENGES.
The idea of developing such a unique program that would foster a child’s creative thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills at Brant Children’s Centre came from Dr. Heather Knoepfli.
"I have always been interested in creative thinking and how people evolve new ideas. I feared that, as societies gradually evolve in their complexity and all our lives become more and more dependent on these complexities (i.e. technology), our overall level of creativity would decrease." (Dr. Heather Knoepfli, 1988)
Initial ideas and writing started in 1988 with an active pilot project developed for the 1992 school year. Since that year, the program has evolved as an important component in all of our programs, beginning in the preschool department.
"Wiz-Tech is a programming concept that aims to teach children how to be creative and, hence, how to think, to ask questions, and to look at the same situation in different ways. By exposing children to this process, we are helping them acquire the basic building blocks needed to become an intellectual thinker."
Central to Wiz-Tech are challenges that a child or group of children have to meet.
Challenges expose children to different technologies and how to use them creatively.
The focus of Wiz-Tech is on process, not solution; there could be many different solutions to the problem or challenge.
Wiz-Tech is an open-ended, hands-on learning environment.
FRENCH LANGUAGE PROGRAM
“Research shows that learning a new language helps people’s first language.” (Suzanne Majhanovich, Professor of Education, University of Western Ontario)
Learning a second language stimulates the brain, and brain stimulation leads to cognitive development. At Brant Children's Centre, French was the natural choice for a second language, given that we live in Canada.
We also encourage parents who speak a different first language than English to continue teaching their child/children their native language at home. Languages are much easier to learn when we are young, and they will be an asset in later life if we want to travel or become a global citizen.
“Learning a second language – or a third or fourth – it’s easy baggage to carry around!” (Air Commodore D. Blaine)
Although our aim is not to make our graduates bilingual, there are several benefits from the program:
Children develop an appreciation for people, that different people speak different languages.
Children graduate with a basic vocabulary in French and confidence and interest to learn more.
Many of our graduates go to French Immersion in Grade One and do very well.
MUSIC AND MOVEMENT
Children love music. They inherently love to sing and dance and perform.
At Brant Children's Centre, our music program starts with our toddlers – singing songs, listening to music, and making sounds with just about any resource.
Juniors begin to learn to sing simple songs together.
In Preschool, basic instruments are introduced to accompany singing. The concerts for parents are longer with more complex verses to remember.
Our Kindergarten Program is filled with music and dancing, be it square dancing, the chicken dance, freeze dance, or the infamous turkey tango in Senior Kindergarten!
Although we are not a Montessori school, we have a lot of Montessori materials and believe in many of the principles of the Montessori approach to teaching.
Some of the materials (binomial cubes, cylinder blocks, geometric solids, Hundred Board, Golden Beads) are excellent for teaching math concepts.
The Montessori approach – freedom within limits – teaches self-confidence, independence and respect for materials. It also reinforces the need for children to tidy their workspace before proceeding to a new activity.
Children like to explore lessons at their own pace through specially designed materials.
The teacher can be effective by observing children and not intervening when a child is involved in a constructive activity.
At Brant Children's Centre, we use our Montessori materials primarily in our Kindergarten program. The main curriculum components that we incorporate in Montessori activities are Life Skills, Language and Literacy, and Mathematics.
BRANT CHILDREN'S CENTRE
We use our computer lab to introduce children to age-appropriate and effective interactive software to reinforce specific goals in our curriculum.
These activities reinforce language and math skills.