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A parent expressed an appreciation for my illustrations of how the curriculum connects to what we are doing in the classroom. It made me realize that although the curriculum documents are publicly available, most non-educators are probably not aware of how to find them or what is in them. So, here's a link to the new Kindergarten curriculum published by the ministry:
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/kindergarten_english_june3.pdf

Although our school does not begin the FDK program until September, the expectations in the document, used for assessment and reporting, are the same. The differences are in how the program is delivered and how learning is documented. The "front matter," the often overlooked pages at the beginning of each section of the document, explain best practices for instruction and assessment, and give insights into how children develop as learners within the program. For educators, there are also supplementary documents, such as "Primarily Play" and "Thinking it Through" that are published by ETFO and explain the philosopy of play-based learning, the research behind it, and how to best implement it into the classroom.

This philosophy is not actually new. Education theorists like Vygotsky and Dewey are quoted in these documents and they were writing back in the 60's. The challenge with play-based learning is what I mentioned in my last post: it is not efficient. Linear, teacher-directed instruction is highly efficient, easy to assess, and straightforward to document and report. However, efficiency is not the same as effectiveness. Students simply memorize what you tell them and don't learn the underlying concepts behind the algorithm, or words, or facts. Learning through play and discovery means they are making connections with and between concepts in ways that can never happen through direct instruction. Although more effective, it is not linear, straightforward, or easy to assess. It does not conform to deadlines or time restraints. This is the challenge for education and always has been. This is the reason why the pendulum of pedegogy is constantly swinging back and forth between direct instruction and student-centred learning. Hopefully this time we will be able to find the right mix and balance to make learning highly effective and still efficient enough to fit into our world of marks, deadlines, and mandated curriculum expectations.

 


Kanika
04/09/2013 11:05pm

Awesome! Like your ideas!

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