The Oakville Academy for the Arts Senior Kindergarten Program is an award-winning program offering an arts-enriched learning environment for children turning 5 years of age by the end of December of each school year.
Following an enhanced Ontario Government Senior Kindergarten curriculum, our highly skilled teachers and arts specialists will provide your child with the opportunity to master skills in all academic and arts areas.
OAAK’s Senior Kindergarten Program is dedicated to a philosophy that sees children as whole, capable human beings, having the right to co-construct their educational experience. We passionately work toward the creation of an atmosphere wherein children feel like valued members of our learning community and encourage all children to find and voice their unique gifts in a supportive and respectful environment.
Our goal is to nurture independent and creative thinkers, enthusiastic life-long learners, active explorers and compassionate and respectful human beings.
Unlike other Senior Kindergarten programs, ours will maintain an unparalleled ratio of one teacher for 10 students, allowing for optimum support during individual investigations, skill development and group project work. Our small class sizes allow teachers to customize curriculum meaningfully for each individual learner.
The Senior Kindergarten curricula, while reflecting and most times exceeding the educational goals set out by the Ontario Government, will be influenced and inspired by Italy’s famed,Reggio Emilia approach to creating optimum learning environments for young children. Within the context of this philosophical movement, young learners are encouraged, along with their teachers, to decide upon and undertake projects of study that allow for on-going investigation, in-depth study and the ability to develop and internalize skills and concepts from the entire range of curriculum components such as math, science, visual arts, social studies, music, dance/movement and technology.
Within our classrooms, teachers will have exciting and daily opportunities to integrate curriculum. Activities that are meaningful and relevant to a child’s life experiences provide intrinsic motivation and allow for teachers to teach across the curriculum and assist their students in seeing the interrelationships of the things they are learning.
A growing body of research indicates that intelligence is not a single quantifiable ability, but rather a set of aptitudes developed and valued. Professor Howard Gardner, in his widely acclaimed Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, describes seven different intelligences through which people think, learn and process information. Project Based Learning affords students opportunities to develop and apply these intelligences, thereby accommodating a wide variety of learning styles and temperaments. Engaged learners find excitement and pleasure in learning. They possess a lifelong passion for solving problems and understanding ideas and concepts. Engaged learners understand that learning is social. They are able to see themselves and ideas as others see them, can articulate their ideas to others, have empathy for others, and are fair-minded in dealing with contradictory or conflicting views. They have the ability to identify the strengths and intelligences in themselves and others.
At OAAK, the Senior Kindergarten program will offer your child the exclusive opportunity to marry an enriching and absorbing introduction to formal education with dance, music and the visual arts. The classroom itself will become a studio workshop of sorts – offering an abundant array of fine art media, recycled found objects and a host of captivating natural materials. These resources, combined with well-chosen learning toys and materials will offer children the opportunity to make meaningful personal choices on a daily basis.
Year after year, the feedback received from parents of students having moved on from OAAK’s Kindergarten programs is consistent: the level of preparedness for Grade One is exemplary; the social competence and emotional intelligence with which students enter their new Grade One environments is unparalleled and the focus and ability to attend to classroom tasks is superb!
Within our very special programs, the shift is from teaching to that of learning, with an emphasis on finding personal and meaningful ways to make curriculum areas come alive! We seek to develop in children and ourselves valuable habits of mind and dispositions such as critical thinking, inquiry, research and problem solving; skills that will put our young learners in good stead as they arrive upon the doorstep of future academic experience.
Our three core areas of arts enrichment are as follows:
Classroom projects and areas of interest will be enhanced with visual arts throughout the program. Students will learn about colour, texture, form and technique while being able to create their own unique works of art as part of their process of learning. The program offers a lovely balance between teacher guided art experiences and self-chosen, independent opportunities to explore paint, paper, sculpting media, drawing tools and found materials. At OAAK, the visual arts are looked upon as another language – a graphic language that allows children to concretely represent their beliefs, their ideas and their burgeoning knowledge and awareness of themselves and the world around them.
The imagination is an invaluable tool. Our dance specialists will bring each child on a journey through dance using music, imagination and movement to create a variety of age appropriate dance experiences. During weekly ballet fundamental classes and weekly jazz classes, students will explore the possibilities of what their bodies can do and how it can serve as an extraordinary vehicle for self-expression! Utilizing the Royal Academy of Dance Pre-Primary Syllabus, our students will be introduced to proper posture, basic dance technique, tempo and a variety of fun and exciting dance opportunities. At year’s end, parents may choose to have their child participate in a formal presentation class presided over by a Royal Academy of Dance Examiner.
Full-time Senior Kindergarten students will participate in two weekly 30 minute music classes facilitated by OAAK’s Primary Music Specialist, while part-time students will participate in one weekly 30 minute session. At OAAK, we view music as “a way of knowing”. According to Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner, music intelligence is equal in importance to logical – mathematical intelligence, linguistic intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily – kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence. Making music is as much a basic life skill as walking or talking! Like Hungarian music educator and philosopher, Zoltan Kodaly, the OAAK school believes it is a birthright for all people to be able to sing in tune, march to a beat and be able to experience the expressive capabilities inherent to music. Senior Kindergarten students will explore music sensorially through instrumental activities, listening and singing activities as well as through creative musical movement.
What you will not see in a Reggio-inspired Senior Kindergarten classroom setting:
- Pre-planned themes
- Cookie cutter pieces of art pre-fabricated by teaching staff
- Toys and materials reflecting gender stereotypes (based on style or colour)
- Displays and seasonal decorations that have not been inspired by the thoughts and ideas of the students
What you will see in a Reggio-inspired Senior Kindergarten classroom setting:
- Print-rich materials displayed in context – photographs labeled with descriptions, printed documentation of completed work, words and charts that have connection to on-going project work
- Teachers engaged in deep dialogue with students about their work and personal process
- An abundance of art media, well-chosen play and learning materials and natural elements for exploration (designed to cultivate academic skills such as letter and number recognition as well as science concepts)
- Visual displays emerging over an extended period of time as students and teachers work together to co-construct their shared environment
- Classic and current research applied daily with regard to developmentally appropriate Kindergarten curriculum practices (eg. the appropriate content for and length of a Kindergarten calendar experience)
- Teachers spending a significant amount of time supporting and guiding young children in the development of respectful and reciprocal social skills as well as positive pro-social classroom behaviour (peer to peer conflict resolution, negotiation, the sharing of space and materials, successful movement through transitions, development of positive attention span, the ability to stay on task, turn-taking and the continued broadening of an effective emotional vocabulary)