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Holistic Learning in Nunavut (NU)

The Government of Nunavut has an early childhood education department responsible for childcare programs for “pre-natal children up to age 12”. 

Federal funding for early learning and childcare has been extended to 2025. This will “create more childcare spaces in underserved communities, invest in training and professional development opportunities for early childhood educators, and develop culturally appropriate educational resources.”

There is a lot of great work being done around the country in creating specific culturally appropriate programs for Indigenous schools and programs. Here are some wonderful examples that demonstrate how to authentically integrate Indigenous language, customs and history into the education system.

 

Holistic Early Learning

The Canada-Nunavut Early Learning Framework calls for the healthy development of all children by ensuring high-quality early learning which are rooted in Inuit culture, tradition and values. 

The Learning to be Together Again plan for returning to school advises educators to use existing assessment processes and information shared by their students’ previous teachers, as a starting point for instruction and assessment. Such insights are to be used to facilitate learning recovery. 

It asks educators to use strategies that recognize each student’s unique talents and skills and not just rely on formalized tests or measures.

 

Mandatory kindergarten?

No

 

Early Childhood Education Announcement

For the 2021-2022 school year, The Department of Education in Nunavut is prioritizing differentiated instruction in its recovery learning plan. Its Learning to be Together Again framework talks about implementing core learning outcomes and providing differentiation in instruction and assessment, to understand where students are now and determine where they need to be.

Holistic Learning in Ontario (ON)

The Ministry of Education in Ontario considers assessments in K-5 to be “for learning” and also “as learning”. 

This is a very important aspect of holistic learning, which uses assessments not just to gauge the level of the student and offer feedback, but to develop the student’s capacity to be independent learners who are able to progress by best understanding their own learning styles.

Holistic assessments “inform instruction, guide next steps, and help students monitor their progress” towards achieving their learning goals.

 

Holistic Early Learning

The learning recovery plan for Ontario includes funding for reading assessment support for school boards. These tools identify the learning needs of their early readers. Elementary teachers will be supported through the provision of guides for early reading instruction.

 The elementary math curriculum will continue, which allows educators to further explore math content with their students. 

In both early reading and math, additional support is to be provided to students who need more time with certain concepts. $29 million is made available to support equity initiatives for at-risk or marginalized students.

 

Mandatory kindergarten?

No

 

Early Childhood Education Announcement

Ontario has developed a Recovery Action Plan that outlines a plan for measuring and assessing students, providing comprehensive tutoring supports, focusing on student resilience and mental well-being, strengthening numeracy and literacy skills and modernizing education. 

Highlights include:

  1. Resume EQAO assessments after a two-year pause
  2. Identify interventions and establish targets for improvement after establishing a new baseline. 
  3. Spend $175 million to provide more school-based tutoring that will include small group tutoring and programming for targeted, culturally appropriate and at-risk students.
  4. Spend $25 million on reading intervention programs and professional assessments to support struggling readers with evidence-based approaches to reading 
  5. Spend $5 million for programs delivered in partnership with third-parties focused on literacy and math.

Holistic Learning in Prince Edward Island (PE)

The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning in Prince Edward Island develops high-quality K-12 programs. 

In the most recent mandate, the priorities include providing leadership in creating opportunities for student success and building technology capacity and engagement in schools. 

Increasingly in recent years, the role of technology is becoming essential in managing classrooms and fostering engagement between educators and parents. 

Holistic education recognizes the need for connection in the early years. Technology provides one way for the student’s immediate learning support system members to be connected with each other.

 

Holistic Early Learning

The Prince Edward Island Early Learning Curriculum Framework promotes each child’s holistic development – language, cognitive, emotional, creative, and physical. It assists educators to facilitate early learning through daily activities.  

To develop skills and knowledge in language and literacy, a variety of means is used to communicate their ideas, thoughts and needs. Increasingly complex language structures are used in conversations and play. It is recommended that teachers help early learners develop a love for stories and books.

 

Mandatory kindergarten?

Yes

Holistic Learning in Quebec (QC)

The Ministry of Education in Québec outlines 5 competencies in its Framework for the Evaluation of Learning in its preschools. It is part of the Québec Education Program. 

They are:

  1. Increasing physical and motor development 
  2. Building self-awareness 
  3. Maintaining harmonious relationships with others
  4. Communicating using oral and written language 
  5. Discovering the world around them

It is great that there is more attention towards the interconnected aspect of early learning. Indeed, other than the content, process and assessment of learning, the environment in which the learning takes place makes a massive difference. It is one of the 4 constituents of differentiated instruction, which a holistic education facilitates. 

 

Holistic Early Learning

Quebec has a Revitalization Plan for Educational Success for reducing learning gaps in early learners. It prioritizes the provision of more tutoring and pedagogical support to students, and the reinforcement of relationships between schools and families. 

It focuses on ensuring that everyone can make the most of digital technology. It aims to support educators through an innovative pilot project. 

A research-action project will be undertaken to monitor the current situation and identify the most effective supposed practices. The effects of tutoring on student progress will be evaluated, especially as it pertains to literacy.

Preschool and Grade 1 students have been identified as a special group who need support for overall development and gaining a solid foundation in literacy and numeracy.

 

Mandatory kindergarten?

No

Holistic Learning in Saskatchewan (SK)

The Ministry of Education in Saskatchewan distinguishes the following features of an Early Childhood Program: environment, conversations and play. 

Environment and conversations are major components of holistic education, or holistic learning

Holistic assessments consider learning that happens both inside and outside the classroom. The assessments happen by way of conversations, between the educator and the child. 

Play-based learning, is one of the most important styles of learning in the early years, along with experiential learning and inquiry based learning. The holistic approach to education enables all three by discovering information about the child that would otherwise remain hidden.

 

Holistic Early Learning

In order to support all their students in learning recovery, Saskatchewan is collecting reading data from students in grades 1 to 5. 

It will allow educational professionals to create specialized reading plans for students who need it. Every early learner will be met at their individual skill levels.

 

Mandatory kindergarten?

No

 

Early Childhood Education Announcement

The Government of Canada will provide $1.1 billion to Saskatchewan to support early learning and child care. It’s a part of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreements between the federal government and the various provinces or territories.

Two of the principles of the agreement are inclusivity and quality.

On inclusivity, children from diverse populations will be supported with access to high-quality early learning programs. There will be a lot of work done with First Nations and Métis partners to ensure Indigenous children have access to affordable, high-quality, and culturally appropriate early learning.

On quality, a qualified workforce will be built to support the developmental outcomes of young children.

Holistic Learning in Yukon (YT)

The Department of Education in Yukon introduced changes to its curriculum, which include: 

  • more hands-on learning opportunities for students;
  • more personalized learning opportunities based on student interests;
  • Yukon First Nations ways of knowing, doing and being integrated into the curriculum in all subjects and grade levels.

Every community that has their own history is finding it important to reflect their own educational material in their schools. Yukon is no different as it pertains to the Indigenous community. 

There are many terms that increase equity in early childhood education, and cultural competence is one of them. It dovetails nicely with holistic education which seeks to personalize learning and provide more hands-on culturally responsive activities for students.

 

Holistic Early Learning

Yukon has a Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education Recovery Plan that calls to support the development of the whole child. Learning is prioritized in the areas of literacy, numeracy and socio-emotional development. 

It is recommended that technology be leveraged for student success. There is a continued focus on differentiated instruction and scaffolding to teach students. 

Collaboration among students, educators, parents, Indigenous communities and the community is favoured. There is a nod towards using formative assessment practices to accelerate student achievement and to help inform instructional decisions. 

For K-3 students, it is recommended each student be provided with an assessment to understand benchmark reading levels within the first two weeks of school.

 

Mandatory kindergarten?

No

 

Early Childhood Education Announcement

As part of the Canada-Yukon Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, Cultural Enhancement Funding of $800,000 will be provided in the next two years to develop enhanced, culturally rich, early learning programs and environments.

There will be a focus on experiential learning opportunities and educational materials to support culturally responsive programming. 

Early kindergarten programs will be enhanced in rural communities, which will provide children with opportunities to engage in developmentally appropriate, play-based curriculum for longer periods, over two years. Such a long ramp to kindergarten builds a deeper understanding and development of solid foundational skills to prepare for Grade 1.