KMb Early Learning Research and its practical implications in the full day kindergarten classroom

The Ontario full-day early learning Kindergarten program is based on the wealth of research showing that children’s development and learning is best stimulated by a curriculum and instructional/assessment practices that are play-based and child-centred.

Project Category:
Strengthening research brokering work
Topic Area:
Early Childhood
Ministry Priority
(2011-2013):
Teaching and Learning
Project Lead(s):
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Brief Background:
The Ontario full-day early learning Kindergarten program is based on the wealth of research showing that children’s development and learning is best stimulated by a curriculum and instructional/assessment practices that are play-based and child-centred. To increase the use of this research evidence in educational decisions at the classroom level, this proposal seeks to provide the 2011 cohort of full-day Kindergarten teachers, principals, and Early Childhood Educators in the Catholic system with an opportunity to interact with lead researchers in the field of early childhood education on determining and using best play-based learning practices across the curriculum.
Research Context:
The researchers have found that many teachers and principals are often unclear about the value of play-based learning, how to assess such learning, and how such learning can be integrated into all curriculum areas. This proposal builds on but does not duplicate the first steps that the Ministry has taken to provide training of Full-Day Early-Learning Kindergarten teachers and principals. Instead, it is meant to provide a more in-depth understanding of the research in this area and its implications.
Knowledge Mobilization Activities:
Knowledge mobilization is inherently built into this project. The project will begin with face-to-face presentations through a kindergarten conference focused on researchers from the field of play-based learning. Sharing from practitioners who have utilized the research in their own practice will further enhance the research from the experts. Webcasts of the researchers will be made available online, together with a facilitation/discussion guide for project partners so that the webcasts can form part of a longer term strategy for professional development as new schools become part of the Ministry’s Full-Day Kindergarten initiative. This project builds a partnership with the Catholic principals and ECEs around the conference and establishes online access to the webcasts with a discussion guide for viewing.
Outcomes:
The design of this project supports the mobilization of knowledge from experts in early learning from across Ontario and internationally. The first stage involves a conference with the experts and a follow- up of practical workshops related to the research from the experts. This project will allow in excess of 150 Kindergarten teachers, ECEs, and principals access to the latest research in early learning. The use of webcasting will allow each of the partners to sustain the dialogue around the research as new cohorts of educators become part of the ELKP initiative.