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Preschool / Kindergarten Program

What is Morneau Shepell’s preschool/JK/SK program?

Our preschool/JK/SK program aims to prepare children with differences to smoothly enter the school system. There are many reasons why a child might not be ready for school. Verbal, physical, behaviour or cognitive differences can all create challenges.

There are two preschool/JK/SK levels: one for 2-3 year olds and one for 4-6 year olds. The older group could be splitting their week between preschool and public or private kindergarten. Some students also spend part of the day in preschool, and part in behaviour therapy working one-on-one with a
therapist. The program is flexible enough to do what is most beneficial for that individual child.

Our preschool/JK/SK program has one teacher for every four children and each child has an individualized program based on a formal assessment of their basic language and learning skills. Assessments are based on tools such as Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) or Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS) tools, as well as the Provincial Kindergarten curriculum. Children learn the basics that will support them to integrate into school activities; sitting in circle, lining up at door to get a snack and transitioning to the gym are all skills that can be targeted. Children are taught basic academic skills in reading, writing and math. Most importantly, children get individual attention to help them with anything they are experiencing challenges with. We can also provide additional supports to students including support with toileting and feeding.

The full-day preschool/JK/SK program runs from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. The half-day program runs from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm. Affordable before and after care are also available from 7:30 am to 9:00 am and 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

Who can benefit from preschool/JK/SK?

The preschool/JK/SK program helps children who would otherwise have difficulty integrating into the school system. Our team is experienced in working with children of all abilities including those who may have: Anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, (Global) Developmental Delay, Learning Differences, Motor, Language and/or Speech Delay, Sensory Processing Differences, etc. Almost any child can benefit from individualized attention that helps with filling the gaps in their readiness for school.

What role can parents play?

Parents usually get quite involved with the preschool/JK/SK program. First, parents help their child’s teacher understand the child’s history, needs and goals. Then, once preschool/JK/SK begins, teachers show the parents how

they are working to help the child, which can include toileting, feeding or behaviour strategies. Having learned the teaching methods, parents can work with their child at home and in the community to generalize new skills.

What is Morneau Shepell’s approach to preschool/JK/SK?

We start with an assessment of what will best support the child. Children in preschool/JK/SK might also work with a behaviour, music, physical, occupational or speech-language therapist—whatever best matches their needs.

Morneau Shepell is family-centred and interdisciplinary. This means that we always start with the questions, “What will work for this child?” and “What is right for the family?”

In the Morneau Shepell model, educators are not just under one roof; they plan together, train together and work together on a student’s file. It is an integrated approach to helping the family.

How are preschool/JK/SK teachers trained?

Our preschool/JK/SK teachers typically have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline such as teaching or social work.

They often have other degrees or certifications such as diplomas in Early Childhood Education (ECE) or Autism and Behaviour Science. Some of our teachers are also Ontario Certified Teachers.

Our specialized educators are trained in programs including:

  • Total Communication Approach including sign language and Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • TouchMath
  • WeeHands Sign Language
  • Jolly Phonics

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