Saskatchewan Learning works in partnership with boards of education and community groups to promote and support the development and continuous improvement of Prekindergarten educational programming for children who are at risk of failure in school. (Saskatchewan Learning 2004)
Prekindergarten early intervention and prevention programming has proven to have both short and long-term benefits in the lives of children who are at risk of failure in school. The short–term benefits include increased readiness to learn, improved cognitive functioning, increased social skills, improved health and higher self-esteem, all contributing to greater success in schools. The long-term benefits include lower rates of juvenile crime, fewer teen pregnancies, fewer failed grades and school drop-outs, and fewer referrals to special education services. Research has revealed that early intervention saves in remedial education, welfare and losses to crime later in life. Prekindergarten represents a solid investment in children’s development and helps to avoid the need for later costly interventions.
Age of Entry
Children must have reached their third birthday prior to admission. Three and four-year old children are eligible to attend the Prekindergarten Program. It is recommended that an equal balance of three-and-four-year old children be maintained and that children with the greatest need be provided with the opportunity to attend for two years. The date of birth for eligibility will follow school division guidelines.
Student Selection - Class Size - Child/Staff Ratio
The objective is to ensure that children with the greatest needs are served.
• Regina Catholic School Division has a policy/selection criterion for students.
• The child/staff ratio is eight children to one staff member, bringing the total half-day enrollment to 16 children with a teacher and educational assistant.
• Students must live within the designated school boundary.
• Students must meet toilet training expectations.
• Parent involvement is essential to the success of the program.
Hours of Operation
Each half-time program will operate for a minimum of 12 hours per week. Ideally, children should attend Prekindergarten for three hours a day, 5 days a week. When children attend only 12 hours a week, the remaining three hours are used by the teacher and assistant to provide family education opportunities.
Transportation of children to and from school is the responsibility of the parents/guardians. A signed information sheet indicating who will drop off and pick up the child is required. Selected Prekindergarten pupils are provided transportation at some schools. Parents/guardians will complete a school transportation form.
Prekindergarten at a Glance
The goal of the Prekindergarten Program is to create the ideal learning environment. Prekindergarten programming incorporates what is known from the literature and practice about the early childhood education and the needs of vulnerable children with the strength of the Saskatchewan Kindergarten curriculum. The explanation below provides a brief description of Saskatchewan Learning’s Prekindergarten Program.
• A developmentally appropriate educational program, based on "Play and Exploration", the Early Learning Program Guide
• active, experimental learning through play;
• comprehensive, integrated program within a prepared environment;
• child-centered, self-directed, choice;
• focused on development of whole child – physical, social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual;
• meaningful family involvement;
• active parent/community council, community partnerships and shared ownership;
• integrated health, social services and educational supports;
• culturally affirming for all;
• mixed age groupings;
• intensive exposure - minimum 12 hours per week;
• professional teaching staff with a focus in early childhood education.