1. 13 Transition to School


1.1. 13-A - Bookmark
1.2. 13-B Planning Calendar
1.3. 13-1 Introduction

Starting school is an important period in a child’s life, marking the first step of a child’s school career. How a child experiences the transition into school can greatly impact how they view school and can influence their level of comfort and success for years to come. Such an important transition can create anxiety for all parents, in particular parents of children with additional needs. For children with additional needs, “entry to school is more complex and requires careful planning and coordination.” (1)

In an effort to ensure consistency across the district and to facilitate a smooth transition to school for children with additional needs, the District of Parry Sound Best Start Network initiated the Transition Planning for Children with Additional Needs district-wide project. A focus group, comprised of personnel from the three school boards in the district of Parry Sound, representatives from local service providers and early childhood settings as well as parents of children with additional needs, was created to examine current practices related to the transition into school for children with additional needs.

This focus group succeeded in pulling together the collective knowledge and experience of its members, as well as information from existing documentation, to create the following resources:

  • Entry to School Planning Calendar and parent bookmark; (download from link at end of this article)
  • Entry to School Parent Resource Guide. (individual articles in this section of the Knowledge Base)

 

The Entry to School Planning Calendar outlines responsibilities of parents, the school board and agencies, up to a year in advance, in order to ensure the child with additional needs experiences as smooth a transition as possible. The parent bookmark presents information from the parent column of the calendar in a bookmark format to facilitate easy review and planning.

The Entry to School Parent Resource Guide provides parents with information and tips regarding key components of the transition to school. Although created for parents, this resource guide can prove beneficial for staff of early childhood settings and service providers supporting children and their families. The format of the resource guide aims at facilitating quick access to the following key topics:

  • Introduction
  • Why Disclose
  • Creating a Parent Information Binder
  • Welcome to Kindergarten
  • Developmental Screening Clinics
  • The Case Conference
  • The Transition Plan
  • Staggered Entry
  • Creating a One Page Profile
  • Sample One Page Profile
  • Creating a Portfolio
  • Creating an All About Me Album
  • Sample All About Me Album
  • Creating an I’m Going to School Album
  • Ideas for Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten
  • School Day Schedules
  • The IEP
  • The IPRC
  • Contact Information Sheet
  • Telephone Call Record Sheet
  • Meeting Record
  • List of Acronyms
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Parent Resources

 

Each topic is presented as a one or two page document. Topic documents were deliberately limited to a maximum of two pages to ensure essential information was highlighted and to respect the parent friendly nature of the resource guide.

Parents wishing more in-depth information will find some additional resources they can examine.

In an effort to include all children who require additional support and services, the focus group chose to use the term additional needs rather than special needs. The term special needs tends to refer to children who have received a formal diagnosis and may fail to acknowledge the needs of children who have received and will require varying levels of support but do not have a formal diagnosis.

Project leads would like to thank all of the focus group members for their commitment to this project and to the children they serve. A special thank you to the parents who kindly volunteered their time to review every part of this resource to ensure it met its goal as a clear, user friendly resource for parents of children with additional needs. In addition, the focus group would like to thank the District of Parry Sound Best Start Network for entrusting it with the very important task of creating a district-wide approach to the transition into school for children with additional needs and their families as they embark on this very important part of their journey.

 

(1) Planning Entry to School, a Resource Guide (2005) Ontario’s Ministry of Education

(2) Focus Group Membership

  • Almaguin Highlands Community Living (AHCL)
  • Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)
  • Community Living Parry Sound (CLPS)
  • District of Parry Sound Best Start Network
  • Hands, the Family Help Network
    • Infant and Child Development
    • Treatment and Intervention Preschool to Six (TIPS)
  • Near North District School Board (NNDSB)
  • New Horizon Montessori Early Learning Centre
  • Nipissing Parry Sound Catholic District School Board (NPSCDSB)
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit (NBPSDHU)
  • One Kids Place Children’s Treatment Centre (OKP)
  • Parents of children with additional needs
  • District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board (PSDSSAB) – Children’s Services
    • Integration Support Services
    • Licensed Child Care
    • Early Years/Best Start Child and Family Centres
  • Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) 

 


 

 
 
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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.4. 13-2 Why Disclose

Disclosing Your Child’s Needs

As the time to register their child for school approaches, parents of children with additional needs may question whether or not to inform the school about their child’s needs and wonder about how much information to share. Sometimes parents want to see how their child will do before talking to the school or may not fully understand why the school needs to know as soon as possible about any additional needs their child has.

Why should I disclose my child’s needs?

Every child is unique and deserves the best possible start the school system can provide. In order to ensure a positive beginning to your child’s school journey, the school will need as complete an understanding as possible of your child’s strengths and needs. This information allows you and the school to work together to meet your child’s needs and to ensure he or she has positive school experiences right from the start.

The school board develops support plans for children with additional needs long before the start of the school year. These support plans are based on information received from all schools. The school board can only plan support for the children it has received information about.

When should I tell the school about my child’s needs?

The school is your first point of contact and it is best to inform staff of your child’s additional needs as soon as you register your child. The school will need time to review documents you provide, contact agencies involved with your child and inform the school board about your child’s needs. The transition into school is a big step for your child so the sooner the school can have the information that will guide that transition, the better.

What type of information might be important to share with the school?

Any information that you feel is important for the teacher or staff to know such as:

  • Any medical diagnoses your child has received;
  • If your child was born prematurely and received care because of this;
  • Services your child has received or currently receives. For example: Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Services, behavioural intervention, etc.;
  • Any concerns you have in terms of your child’s development.

 

Does an agency require my permission before it can share information about my child with the school or school board?

Yes, an agency can only share information about your child with your written consent, referred to as ‘consent to disclose’. The agency may request your consent to disclose six or maybe even nine months before your child is supposed to start school so that the best possible transition plan can be developed for your child.

Community partners collaborating to achieve the “Best Start” for children 0-12 years

If an agency asks for consent to share information with the school, do I have to give it?

Parents have the final say about whether or not to give consent to an agency to share information with the school or school board. Some parents prefer to provide their own copies of assessments and reports to the school when they register their child. Other parents feel more comfortable having staff from the agency that is involved with their child talk to the school to make sure the school receives the most pertinent information. Whether you consent to an agency sharing information with the school or choose to do it yourself, what is essential is that the school receives the information to allow it to plan as smooth a transition as possible for your child.

Won’t my child be “labelled” if I tell the school about any difficulties he or she may be having?

Parents often fear their child will be “labelled” if they tell the school about any difficulties or challenges their child is having. Nothing could be further from the truth. By disclosing this important information, you are allowing a number of positive things to happen:

  • Focus on your child’s development – by disclosing, the school knows your child’s strengths and needs, and is able to plan for your child’s ongoing positive development
  • Collaboration – disclosing allows you, community agencies, and school staff to work together to ensure your child’s success
  • Effective transition planning – sharing information about your child’s different needs allows a more personalized transition plan to be created; the plan can specify how and when the transition will take place and who is responsible for each step of the process
  • Ongoing planning – disclosing your child’s and family’s needs provides a mechanism that allows the school to respond to changes in your child’s needs.

 

Parents can take comfort in knowing that the team’s goal is to help their child experience as smooth a transition to school as possible. The best way of working towards this goal is early disclosure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community partners collaborating to achieve the “Best Start” for children 0-12 years


 

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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.5. 13-3 Creating a Parent Information Binder

What is a parent information binder?

A parent information binder is a tool for keeping all information about your child organized in one place. As information is received, it can be added to your binder.

  • What kind of information should I put in the binder?
  • Any information you want quick access to can be stored in the binder and may include the following:
  • Reports* (you may choose to only include assessment and diagnostic information and recommendations, and remove private information);
  • Your child’s most recent program plan* from the early childhood setting, progress notes*, summaries*, etc.;
  • A list of medication your child takes, including the schedule and dosage. If you have an information sheet on each medication given out by the pharmacy, it would be beneficial to include this;
  • A list of specialized equipment your child uses;
  • Business cards or contact information for health care professionals or other people involved with your child;
  • A picture of your child. This can be helpful in meetings if someone who has not met your child is in attendance;
  • Photographs of your child doing his or her favourite activities – a picture is truly worth a thousand words;
  • Goals you have for your child and any concerns you may have;
  • Lined paper to jot down notes and things to do;
  • A calendar to record appointments and meetings;
  • A Phone Call Record sheet – this can be very helpful in tracking communication with the school and agencies;
  • Information (resources, websites, etc.) you have found helpful for understanding and teaching your child;
  • Copies of meeting minutes*, case conferences*, letters*, etc.

 

*You may want to put copies in the binder and keep originals in a secure place, such as a filing cabinet, at home.

How do I organize the information in the binder?

There is no right or wrong way of organizing the information in the binder. Include only information that is important to you and that you refer to regularly. It is helpful to use dividers to organize different types of information, a business card holder and plastic sheets or pockets to store items in. As new information is added, you may want to go through the binder and take out older information to keep it up to date.

How is a parent information binder different from a portfolio?

A parent information binder is your binder of information, a way of keeping your documents organized. A portfolio, on the other hand, is designed to be given to the school staff who will be welcoming your child into school. Although similar information will be found in both the portfolio and parent information binder, the portfolio is a summary or condensed version of the most pertinent information you have stored in your parent information binder. (See the information sheet on Creating a Portfolio).

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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.6. 13-4 Welcome to Kindergarten Program

What is Welcome to Kindergarten?

Welcome to Kindergarten (Welcome to K) is a program that was introduced in 2004 by the Learning Partnership of Canada, http://www.thelearningpartnership.ca/. Through family orientation sessions, Welcome to K provides pre-kindergarten children and their families with information, early learning resources and experiences that can help prepare children for the transition to school and learning.

Parents/caregivers and children are invited to attend a family orientation session and participate in activities using a variety of materials such as books, magnetic numbers and letters, playdough, crayons, paper, and scissors. Early Childhood Professionals are present at Welcome to K sessions to share ideas about how and why to incorporate these early learning resources into family activities. Before leaving the orientation session, every family receives a

Welcome to K bag of early learning resources. Families are encouraged to utilize these resources to assist their child in preparing for kindergarten.

Welcome to K is also a great way for families to connect with kindergarten teachers, school resource personnel and staff from community agencies.

When and where is Welcome to Kindergarten held?

Welcome to Kindergarten events are held at all elementary schools sometime in the spring. Each school schedules its own event. Your child’s school principal can provide you with the schedule and details about the Welcome to Kindergarten event at your child’s school. Registering your child early in the year (January/February) will allow school personnel to send your child an invitation to this event.

What kind of information will I receive at a Welcome to K event?

 

  • A Welcome to K event provides you with the following:
  • Information about using play and discovery with your child;
  • A description of what a typical day in kindergarten might look like;
  • A list of items to send to school with your child;
  • Administrative documents and information: registration forms, late arrival information, transportation options and guidelines, etc.;
  • A description of potential supports available for children with additional needs;
  • Helpful tips for preparing your child for kindergarten;
  • Information about having your child’s hearing, vision, and speech tested, should you wish to do so before school starts;
  • A sample All About Me album you and your child can create over the summer and that your child can take to school. (See the tip sheet Creating an All About Me Album);
  • Best of all, your family will receive a Welcome to Kindergarten bag to take home. 

 

 


 

 
 
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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.7. 13-5 Developmental Screening Clinics

What is a Developmental Screening Clinic?

A Developmental Screening Clinic is a place parents can bring their child to check on how he or she is developing.

Why is it important for me to bring my child for screening?

Children learn many skills and experience many different things in early life. The first five years of life play an especially important role in preparing children for success at school and later in life. For this reason, it is important to make sure your child is developing well early in childhood.

What happens at a Developmental Screening Clinic? 

The Developmental Screening Clinic is run by staff qualified in areas related to child development. Staff uses questionnaires to get a good picture of your child’s development. For example, a document called Red Flags or Ages and Stages may be used to assess your child’s development. Results indicate the strengths your child possesses, as well as areas that are in need of improvement.

When and where are the Developmental Screening Clinics held?

Developmental Screening Clinics are held across the District of Parry Sound monthly with the exception of July and August. The clinics are free of charge and are available for all children between1 month and 5 ½ years.

What happens with the results of the screening?

Your child’s results will be discussed with you and you will receive a copy. The results are not meant to diagnose or label your child in any way. They are meant to inform you of the areas in which your child is progressing well, as well as areas you may wish to keep an eye on.

With your permission, results can be shared with your family doctor.

Do I have to pay for this?

No, Developmental Screening Clinics are free of charge for children between the ages of 1 month and 5 ½ years. The District of Parry Sound Best Start Network wants to help you provide the best possible start for your child.

Where can I get more information?

To get more information about the Developmental Screening Clinic, find a location in your area or to book an appointment, you can call 705-746-7777 or 1-800-461-4464 or visit www.foreverychild.ca.

 
 
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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.8. 13-6 Case Conference

What is a case conference?

A case conference is an initial meeting held prior to a child with additional needs’ transition to school. It’s an opportunity for the school, parents, professionals involved with the child (e.g. speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, resource teacher, physiotherapist, etc.) as well as special education staff from the school board to work collaboratively to develop a transition and support plan based on the child’s individual profile. In essence, the case conference represents the first step in building the child’s support team with the people who already know the child and those who will be welcoming the child into school. The case conference is essential to ensuring a child’s smooth transition to school.

What is discussed at the case conference?

Planning effectively for a child’s transition to school takes a coordinated effort and involves knowing your child as well as possible. For this reason, a number of items will be discussed at the case conference, including:

Your child’s strengths, interests and needs;

  • Assessment information;
  • Types of supports your child needs to be successful, as well as available supports;
  • Transportation needs;
  • School readiness activities;
  • Involvement of community agencies that are already working with your child;
  • Additional referrals, as needed.

 

The case conference should result in a list of things to do, who will do what and deadlines. If additional meetings are necessary, the date should be set before leaving.

Who schedules the case conference?

Typically, the coordinator of special education from the school board or your child’s case manager, if he or she has one, will schedule the case conference. The coordinator will inform you and professionals supporting your child or your family of the date, time and location of the case conference.

Do I have to attend the case conference?

Parents are expected to attend the case conference. You know your child best and have information crucial to creating a smooth transition plan for your child.

When does a case conference take place?

Case conferences are typically held in the spring prior to a child starting school. It usually lasts 1 to 1 ½ hours, but it is best to allow a bit more time in case it is needed.

How do I prepare for the case conference?

The first step in preparing for the case conference is to remember that you know your child best. Attending a case conference is a new experience for most parents. Here are a few suggestions to help you prepare:

  • Gather and organize reports and other documents so you can quickly refer to them during the case conference. (See the information sheets on Creating a Portfolio and
  • Creating a Parent Information Binder);
  • Jot down your goals for your child as well as any concerns or questions you have;
  • List the supports you believe your child will need in school to help him or her be as successful as possible.

 

 
 
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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.9. 13-7 The Transition Plan

What is a transition plan?

The transition plan is a plan outlining steps needed to ensure a child’s transition into kindergarten is as smooth as possible.

Does every child have a transition plan?

Although a transition plan can be beneficial for every child, it is recommended for children who have additional needs, have received support in early childhood settings or have been involved with community service providers.

Who develops the transition plan?

The transition plan is developed by the child’s parents, school board staff, representatives from the early childhood setting the child attends and community service providers working with the child.

When is the transition plan created?

The transition plan is typically initiated at the case conference. A number of items related to starting school are discussed at the case conference, which forms the basis for and leads to the creation of the transition plan.

What kind of information would be included in my child’s transition plan?

A transition plan can be broken down into two parts:

  1. What needs to be done by the school staff and professionals in order to welcome and support your child and;
  2. Ways you can help your child get ready for school and become more familiar with the school prior to his or her first day.

 

Although transition plans typically follow a general outline, your child’s transition plan will be based on his or her individual profile. You can expect to see the following type of information in your child’s transition plan:

  • Details and instructions about creating an I’m Going to School album (video/photos of the school, school yard and classroom, routines, safe bus practices, etc);
  • Details about your child’s transportation;
  • Activities designed to get your child ready for school;
  • Details about transferring or acquiring specialized equipment, as needed;
  • Type of supports needed and the possible role of service providers during the transition.

 

The Entry to School Planning Calendar presents information about this important transition and can serve as a point of reference when developing your child’s plan.

 


 

 
 
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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.10. 13-10 Creating a Portfolio

What is a portfolio 

A portfolio is a concrete way of introducing your child to new people involved in his or her life and for keeping important information organized and easily accessible.

What’s the best way to create a portfolio?

To begin, you will need to choose an organizational system, such as a binder with dividers, multi-pocket presentation folder, or whatever works best for you. You will need to add information as your child grows and develops, so the system you choose must keep contents secure, allow you to add items and to present them in a clear organized way. The goal is to present the most complete picture possible of your child to the person or persons reviewing the portfolio.

What kind of information should I include in my child’s portfolio?

The goal is to present as complete a picture as possible of your child. The type and amount of information you include to accomplish this goal is up to you. Here are some suggestions:

One page profileA one-sided sheet designed to quickly and easily present what is important to your child and how to best support him or her in a school environment. (See the information sheet on Creating a One Page Profile).

Work samples: Art work (e.g. drawings, paintings) and other paper type activities that reflect your child’s skills across as many areas as possible.

Photographs:

  • Things that your child has made;
  • Your child engaged in favourite activities;
  • Helpful hints to include:

 

Strategies you use to encourage and teach your child;

  • Favorite toys and comfort/calming items;
  • Home routines or family traditions;
  • What you do to foster success.

 

Community agencies: List each therapist, preschool resource teacher/consultant, agency, early childhood setting, etc. that your family is involved with. Include a brief description of what each person does with your child, frequency of contact, and contact information (phone number, email).

Reports and assessments:

  • Current written reports* and recommendations;
  • The most current Individual Program Plan (IPP) from the early childhood setting your child attends;
  • Progress reports and checklists from the preschool program;
  • Results  from  screening  tools  (e.g.  Nipissing  Developmental  Screen,  Ages  and
  • Stages Questionnaire) or screening clinics (e.g. speech and hearing assessments);
  • Summaries from therapy sessions;
  • Discharge reports from agencies or exit report card from early childhood settings;
  • List of specialized equipment;
  • Relevant or legal custody information.

 

*You may choose to only include recommendations specific to your child and exclude information of a personal or private nature.

Resources:  A few choice websites or articles relevant to your child’s needs.

Here are some helpful tips for creating a portfolio:

  • Plan so the final portfolio can be reviewed within fifteen minutes - remember that school personnel are very busy, especially at the beginning of the school year when they are getting to know all the new children;
  • Make a list of information you are thinking of including in the portfolio and group it into categories such as, child and photos, screenings and assessments, preschool program reports, medical information, etc.;
  • Organize the portfolio into sections so information can be easily located;
  • Include only the most current and relevant information;
  • Label and provide brief descriptions of your child’s work, artwork, achievements or activities.
  • Involve your child in developing parts of the portfolio;
  • Be as creative as you want. Use colour and graphics to easily convey information while not distracting from what you are communicating (a picture is truly worth a thousand words).

 

How is a portfolio different from a parent information binder? 

A portfolio is designed to be given to the school staff who will be welcoming your child, whereas a parent information binder is your binder of information. Although similar information will be found in both, the portfolio and parent information binder, the portfolio is a Summary or condensed version of the most pertinent information you have stored in your parent information binder. (See the information sheet on Creating a Parent Information Binder). 

 

 

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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.11. 13-11 Creating An All About Me Album

What is an All About Me album?

An All About Me album is a booklet, binder, scrapbook or photo album designed to present your child to school staff and classmates. A sample All About Me album has been created and is ready for parents to fill in.

Why should I create an All About Me album?

The All About Me album has a number of benefits:

  • It provides a general idea about who your child is and a bit of his or her life to date.
  • It gives your child the opportunity to tell his or her story.
  • Creating the album with your child is a great activity you can do over time.
  • Your child can include information that is important to him or her.
  • It provides the opportunity for you and your child to talk about school and the upcoming changes while celebrating accomplishments to date.
  • It serves as a quick reference for staff as they get to know your child.
  • Staff and your child can get to know each other as they sit and look at the album together.

 

The All About Me album can also be used to remind your child of his or her successes and accomplishments. Some parents review the album with their child on a regular basis but especially when he or she is feeling down or overwhelmed. It’s a great confidence builder!

What kind of information do I include in the All About Me album?

There is no specific information that must be included in the All About Me album. You can include information you feel presents your child as completely as possible. Here are some ideas about what to include:

  • Name, birthday and age;
  • What my family and friends love about me;
  • My family and people in my life (e.g. friends, neighbours, service providers)
  • My favourite things, things I like to do, things I don’t like or that can upset me and things that can help calm me;
  • Things I can do by myself and things I need help with;
  • What I did during the summer before school.

 

Tips for creating an All About Me album

  • Photographs are a great way to help your child share the information with others. Let your child tape or glue photos in the album.
  • Ask your child what information he or she wants included in the album. He or she can write or draw pictures or tell you what to write. This truly makes it his or her album.
  • Include details – names, dates, captions, what your child calls a special place or activity, job titles, school/centre/agency names, awards, specific accomplishments, etc.
  • These details make it easier for staff to talk to your child about what’s in the album.
  • Invite family and friends to help in creating the album by adding a caption or special memory.

 

 
 
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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.12. 13-12 Creating an I'm Going to School Album

What is an I’m Going to School album?

An I’m Going to School album is a booklet, binder, scrapbook or photo album designed to help prepare a child for school. The album shows photographs of different areas of the school the child will be going to and some of the things he or she will be doing at school.

Why should my child have an I’m Going to School album?

The I’m Going to School album has a number of benefits:

  • The album is a concrete way for your child to become familiar with different parts of the school (e.g. classroom, cubby, gym, hall, school yard, etc.);
  • It’s a great opportunity to talk to your child about going to school and what he or she will be doing;
  • Your child can review the album as often as he or she wants;
  • Your child can be involved in the creation of the album truly making it his or her own album.

 

Who creates the I’m Going to School album?

The creation of the album should be discussed at the case conference or with school personnel. The school may already have the pictures needed for the album. If not, which pictures to take, who will take the pictures, and when the pictures will be taken as well as general guidelines to respect (i.e. no students in the pictures) will need to be discussed.

What kind of information should be included in my child’s I’m Going to School album?

Although there is no set way of creating the album, it’s important to remember that the goal of the album is to help your child become familiar with the school and not to overwhelm him or her with every possible detail related to the school day. A helpful approach is to think about a “day in the life of a kindergartner” and to take the most important pictures. A possible sequence of photographs could be as follows:

  • Front of the school
  • Bus drop off area
  • Kindergarten yard
  • Kindergarten door and cubby area
  • Carpet/ group area, tables for activities/work/snack, play area
  • Washroom
  • Gym, library and office
  • Bus area for the end of the day pick up

 

It can be helpful to write a short script to go with the pictures to make sure that anyone who looks at the album with your child uses the same language.

 
 
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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.13. 13-13 Ideas for Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten

“How can I prepare my child for school?”, “What can I work on at home?”, “What do we focus on?” These are common questions for parents preparing to send their child off to school.

The following ideas can help prepare your child for kindergarten.

Safety

  • Teach your child to stop an activity and look in your direction when his or her name is called
  • Practice road and sidewalk safety
  • Talk to your child about taking the bus and bus rules

 

Self-help

  • Provide opportunities for your child to do things themselves
  • Provide enough time for your child to get dressed on his or her own or to do as much as possible on his or her own
  • Establish a washroom routine and have your child participate to the best of his or her ability
  • Encourage your child to eat as independently as possible (i.e. opening and closing lids on food containers, etc.)
  • Have your child tidy up his or her toys after he or she is done playing
  • Teach your child to use a tissue
  • Include your child in everyday activities (e.g. laundry, groceries, gardening, cheering for your ball team, washing the car, caring for the family pet)

 

Routines and Social Interaction

  • Provide opportunities for your child to practice sharing and waiting his or her turn
  • Encourage your child to be curious about what is happening around him or her, point things out, talk about what’s happening
  • Draw your child’s attention to someone who is upset and suggest ways of helping the person to feel better
  • Establish some basic routines around eating, sleeping and free time
  • Describe activities in sequence: First, you put on your pyjamas… Then mom or dad will read a story…Then bedtime…
  • Gradually change bedtime and wake up routines to prepare your child for getting up early for school
  • Encourage your child to stay at an activity of his or her choice for approximately ten minutes
  • Have your child practice personal space (amount of space between people) in different situations

 

Expressive Communication

  • Have your child practice communicating what he or she wants
  • Provide opportunities for your child to ask for help and make choices
  • Listen as your child talks about his or her day and tell your child about your day
  • Create a photo album of familiar people, places or things your child likes and have him or her talk about the pictures

 

Receptive Communication

  • Practice common instructions (e.g. Come here, Get your coat, Time for lunch, etc.)

 

Reading

  • Read to your child, sing nursery rhymes and point out letters and words as often as you can
  • Have your child hold the book and practice turning pages and following the words with his or her finger
  • Encourage your child to make up stories about pictures
  • Teach your child to recognize his or her name (whole name rather than each letter) in upper and lower case letters (i.e. John)

 

Mathematics

  • Include your child in activities such as cooking (measuring), laundry (sorting) or setting the table (number correspondence)
  • Count things in everyday life (e.g. stairs, cars, etc.)
  • Have digital and regular clocks in the house

 

Physical Abilities

Gross Motor (arms and legs)

  • Create obstacle courses to teach your child how to move around without bumping into things or tripping over objects and how to solve problems when moving about
  • Have your child practice carrying a backpack, hanging it up, etc.
  • Encourage your child to be active everyday to the best of his or her ability
  • Make it fun! Catch, run, and jump with your child

 

Fine motor (fingers)

  •  Allow your child to experiment with writing tools (e.g. big crayons, markers, pencils)
  • Have your child manipulate objects (e.g. Lego, blocks)
  • Provide opportunities to snip with scissors (e.g. construction paper, playdough, etc.)
  • Have your child practice using the zippers on a backpack, putting things in and taking things out

 

 
 
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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.14. 13-14 School Day Schedules

Schools usually run on one of two types of schedules; either the balanced school day or the traditional school day.

 
 The Traditional School Day
 A traditional school day is what many parents remember from when they went to elementary school. The traditional school day was broken down into:
  • Four instructional time blocks
  • Two recesses, usually 15 minutes each
  • One lunch period, divided into 20 minute lunch period and 40 minute recess 
Sample Traditional School Day 
8:45 - Schoool Begins
8:45-10:15- Instructional time block, including play-based learning
10:15-10:30 - Morning recess
10:30-11:45 - Instructional time block, including play-based learning
11:45-12:05 - Lunch
12:05-12:45 - Lunch recess
12:45-2:00 -  Instructional time block, including play-based learning
2:00-2:15 - Afternoon recess
2:14-3:15 - Instructional time block, including play-based learning
3:15 - Dismissal 
 
The Balanced School Day
 
The balanced school day has become more popular in recent years and it is broken down into:
  • Three instructional time blocks
  • Two 45 minute nuturition breaks, divided into a lunch period and recess
The balanced school day is designed to enhance student learning by having longer teaching periods. Having two recesses rather than three reduces the number of times the children transition from the classroom and outdoor play area, which also decreases the amount of time children spend getting ready for and coming in from recess. Although the total recess time is slightly shorter than the traditional school day, the children have two recesses of equal lenght allowing them enough time to benefit from being outside.
 
Sample Balanced School Day
8:45 - School begins
8:45-10;:25 - Instructional time block, including play-based learning
10:25-11:10 - First nutrition break
11:10-12:50 - Instructional time block, including play-based learning
12:50-1:35 - Second nutrition break
1:35-3:15 - Instructional time block, including play-based learning
3:15 - Dismissal
 
Note: The above schedules are for information purposes only. Your child’s school will provide the details of how the school day is broken down at that school  
 
 
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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.15. 13-15 The Individual Education Plan (IEP)

What is an IEP?

The IEP is an active, working document designed to help a student to be successful. It includes the following information:

  • The student’s strengths, interests and needs;
  • Special education programs and/or services a student requires;
  • Annual Goals: what a student is expected to learn in a school year;
  • Learning Expectations: what a student will learn in a term;
  • Accommodations: supports and services a student requires in order to learn at his or her age-appropriate grade level;
  • Modifications: changes made to the age-appropriate expectations in order to meet a student’s learning needs. These can include specific changes to the age-appropriate expectations and expectations that are taken from a different grade level within the
  • Ontario curriculum;
  • Alternate Expectations: what a student will be learning that is not part of the Ontario curriculum;
  • Teaching Strategies: what will be used to teach;
  • Assessment Methods: how the student’s progress will be evaluated.

 

An IEP is not:

  • A list of programs and strategies the teacher uses for the entire class;
  • A description of everything that will be taught to the student;
  • A tool for monitoring or evaluating teacher effectiveness;
  • A daily plan of activities.

 

Which students receive an IEP?

An IEP must be developed for a student if he or she has been identified as requiring special education services and/or programs by the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). An IEP may also be developed for a student who has not been formally identified by the IPRC but who requires additional supports, as determined by the school team in consultation with the parent(s).

Who writes the IEP?

The classroom teacher, in consultation with the school resource teacher, creates the IEP. The IEP must be written within thirty school days of when a student starts in a new classroom. Parents play an important role in the development of the IEP for their child and are invited to participate in the process. The principal is ultimately responsible for ensuring the IEP is written and implemented.

What other information is included in the IEP?

The IEP is designed to provide as complete a picture as possible of the student. The following information can help make that happen:

  • Relevant medical or health information about the student as well as any specialized health support services (e.g. nurse) required;
  • Relevant information from assessments or reports supporting the need for an IEP;
  • Information about what the student has achieved and is working on;

 

What role do I, as a parent, play in the development of the IEP?

You know your child best and have valuable information that can be used to guide the development of the IEP, such as:

  • Your goals for your child;
  • How your child learns best (learning style) and strategies you have found helpful when teaching your child;
  • Reports and recommendations from professionals or agencies working with your child;
  • Your child’s strengths, talents and abilities;
  • Things that challenge your child.

 

A few tips about the IEP:

  • You must be consulted in the development of the IEP;
  • Inform the school of your desire to have input into the IEP;
  • Organize your documents prior to the IEP meeting, such as assessments and program notes, so they are readily available;
  • Remember that the IEP focuses on one school year at a time and will change as your child learns and grows;
  • You must be given a copy of the IEP;
  • The IEP is a working document designed to be reviewed and updated at every reporting period.

 

Please note that this fact sheet was designed to provide a general overview of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) to parents of children with additional needs transitioning into the school system. It does not contain information about every aspect of the IEP. More detailed information can be requested from your child’s school or found in the Ministry of Education of Ontario’s 2004 IEP Guide, available at the following link http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/speced/guide/resource/iepresguid.pdf.

 
 
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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.16. 13-16 What is an IPRC?

IPRC stands for Identification, Placement and Review Committee. As a parent of a child with additional needs, it will be important for you to understand the IPRC process.

What is an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)?

An IPRC is a committee that meets and decides if a student should be identified as exceptional (has additional needs) according to established Ministry of Education categories. If identified as exceptional, the committee decides which placement will best meet the student’s needs.

As the name suggests, the IPRC includes distinct parts:

  1. Identification: Identifies students who may need special education programs. A student can be identified as needing special education programs within the following exceptionalities: behavioural, communication, intellectual, physical or multiple.
  2. Placement: Identifies the program placement that will best meet the student’s needs. Special education placements are described below.
  3. Review: The student’s special education needs must be reviewed through the IPRC at least once per school year. A parent may also request a review IPRC once their child has been in a placement for three months.
  4. Committee: The committee (IPRC) is made up of at least three people, one of whom must be a principal or supervisory officer of the school board.
  5. Special Education Placements:The IPRC will decide if the student’s placement will be in a regular classroom with special education support or in a special education classroom.

 

  • If the student is placed in the regular classroom, the type and amount of special education support will be decided.
  • If the student is placed in a special education classroom, the amount of integration into the regular classroom will be decided.

 

Who requests an IPRC?

The principal of the student’s school is responsible for requesting an IPRC if:

  1. He or she has received a written request from the parents. Neither the school board nor the principal can deny this request. The principal must also give the parents a copy of the school board’s Parent Guide to Special Education within 15 school days of receiving the request.
  2. The principal and the student’s teacher(s) believe that the student would benefit from special education programs and/or services, they have appropriate documentation to support the need for an IEP and the parents have been notified in writing.

 

Who attends the IPRC?

  • The committee is made up of at least three school board employees; one must be a principal or supervisory officer. Usually the school principal from the student’s school will attend along with the school resource teacher and/or the student’s classroom teacher.
  • Other school board staff (e.g. psychology staff, Speech and Language Pathologist) and representatives from outside agencies may be present to provide further information or clarification.
  • Parents can bring someone along to support them or speak on their behalf.
  • An interpreter may be present, if one is required.

 

What information do parents receive before the IPRC meeting?

At least 10 days before the IPRC, parents receive an invitation from the IPRC chair about the date and time of the IPRC.

Parents can give the school principal any information about their child’s strengths and needs they want included in the package. The principal will forward it to the chair of the committee.

What happens at the IPRC?

  • The chair introduces everyone and discusses the process.
  • Information about the student’s strengths and needs is presented to the committee.
  • Parents are encouraged to contribute to the discussion as they know their child best.
  • After all the information has been presented, considered, and discussed, the committee will make a decision about a student’s identification as exceptional or not and, if yes, his or her placement. The committee can put off making a decision if more information is needed. A second meeting will be scheduled and parents will be invited to attend. 

 

What happens next?

  • If parents agree with the decision, they can sign the statement of decision at the meeting or take it home to sign and return.
  • If parents do not agree with the decision, they may request a second IPRC or appeal the decision. Both these options have strict timelines which will be explained in the school board’s Parent Guide to Special Education and the Ministry of Education website.

 

What if parents cannot attend the IPRC?

It is very important for parents to attend their child’s IPRC, especially the first IRPC. If parents are not available on the date set, they should speak to the school principal.

Tips for parents

  • The IPRC process will be new to you. Take the time to learn about it. School staff is there to help you understand it.
  • Do not hesitate to ask for clarification about anything that is not entirely clear to you.
  • Ask the school principal about all the placement options available in the school board.
  • In can be helpful to communicate in writing and to keep a copy of all documentation.

 

This information sheet serves as an introduction to the IPRC, with your child’s first IPRC in mind. More detailed information is available from your child’s school and from the Ministry of Education website, http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/speced/hilites.html.


 

 
 
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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.17. 13-17 Contact Information Sheet

This sheet can be used to record the names and contact information for people who currently support your child and for people you will meet during your child’s transition to school.

1.18. 13-18 Telephone Call Record Sheet
1.19. 13-19 Meeting Record Sheet

This sheet can be used to record the details of meetings related to your child’s transition to school. 

1.20. 13-20 List of Acronyms

Acronyms are often used in reports and during meetings. The following is a list of acronyms parents may encounter along with their full names. Information in brackets indicates if an acronym is specific to a school board or community agency.

  • AAC – Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • ABA – Applied Behaviour Analysis
  • ADP –  Assistive Devices Program
  • AHCL – Almaguin Highlands Community Living
  • AIP – Autism Intervention Program (Hands, the Family Help Network)
  • BMC – Behaviour Management Consultant (NPSCDSB)
  • BCT – Behaviour Communication Therapy (Hands, the Family Help Network)
  • BMC – Behaviour Management Consultant (NPSCDSB)
  • CCAC – Community Care Access Center
  • CDA – Communicative Disorders Assistant (NNDSB, NPSCDSB)
  • CLPS – Community Living Parry Sound
  • CRT –  Classroom Resource Teacher   (NPSCDSB)
  • DLRT – Differentiated Learning Resource Teacher (NNDSB)
  • DSS – Developmental Support Services (Hands, the Family Help Network)
  • EA – Educational Assistant
  • ELK – Early Learning Kindergarten (NNDSB)
  • ELP – Early Learning Program (NPSCDSB)
  • FDK – Full Day Kindergarten (SMCDSB)
  • FM – Fine Motor
  • FSP – Family Support Plan (Hands, the Family Help Network)
  • FSS – Family Support Services (CLPS, AHCL)
  • FSW – Family Support Worker (CLPS, AHCL)
  • GM – Gross Motor
  • NHMS - New Horizons Montessori School (private)
  • IBI – Intensive Behaviour Intervention  (Hands, the Family Help Network)
  • ICDS – Infant & Child Development Services (Hands, the Family Help Network)
  • IEP – Individual Education Plan
  • IPP – Individual Program Plan (early childhood settings)
  • IPRC – Identification, Placement and Review Committee
  • ISC – Intensive Support Coordination (Hands, the Family Help Network)
  • ISS – Integration Support Services (District Social Services)
  • JK – Junior Kindergarten
  • LAC – Learning Assistant Centre (NPSCDSB)
  • NNDSB – Near North District School Board
  • PSCDSB – Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board
  • OKP – One Kids Place
  • OT – Occupational Therapist
  • PECS – Picture Exchange Communication System
  • PT –  Physiotherapist
  • RA – Resource Assistant (ISS)
  • RECE – Registered Early Childhood Educator
  • RT – Resource Teacher (ISS)
  • SEA – Special Equipment Amount
  • SEAC – Special Education Advisory Committee
  • SERT – Special Education Resource Teacher (SMCDSB)
  • SGD – Speech Generating Device
  • SK – Senior Kindergarten
  • SLA – Speech and Language Assistant (SMCDSB)
  • SLP –  Speech and Language Pathologist
  • SMCDSB – Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board
  • SSP-ASD – School Support Program – Autism Spectrum Disorders (Hands, the Family Help Network)
  • TA  –  Therapy  Assistant  (under  the  supervision  of  an  Occupational  Therapist  or Physiotherapist )
  • TIPS – Treatment and Intervention for Preschool to Six (Hands, the Family Help Network)

 


 

1.21. 13-21 Frequently Asked Questions

How will the school support my child’s medical needs?

Each school board will have their own policies around supporting children with medical needs in school, including medications, injections, catheters, etc. Please include information about your child’s medical needs when you register him or her for kindergarten. The school will work with you to develop a plan to ensure your child’s medical needs are met. If your child must take medication during school hours, you will have to complete a Record of Administration of Oral Medication form (or a similar form). Medications are secured in the main office or another safe area in the school. A staff member (e.g. secretary, administrator, or educational assistant) administers the medication as directed on the form. It is your responsibility to ensure that enough medication has been provided to the school to meet your child’s needs. You should also inform your child’s school about any specialized equipment your child uses when you register him or her.

If my child currently uses specialized equipment at home, can it be taken to school?

It is important to inform your child’s school about any specialized equipment your child currently uses at home when you register him or her. This equipment may include wheelchairs, walkers, standing frames, adapted utensils or tools, communication books, computers, or many other devices. Although this equipment may have been purchased through the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) or leased through the Central Equipment Pool (CEP), it will likely be required in the school setting to ensure your child is able to participate in daily activities to the best of his or her ability. Therapists currently working with your child can support the transition process in different ways. They might visit the school to make sure hallways and doorways can accommodate larger equipment, provide training to school staff about the use and care of the equipment, or proper lifting techniques. The exact nature of involvement should be decided in collaboration with the school team.

What if my child requires additional specialized equipment once attending school?

If your child requires further equipment once attending school, a Special Equipment Amount (SEA) claim file could potentially be opened on your child’s behalf. SEA is funding provided to school boards to assist with the cost of specialized equipment where the equipment:

  1. Is essential for a student to access the Ontario curriculum and/or alternative program and/or attend school and
  2. Has been recommended by a qualified professional.

 

Should your child require specialized equipment, school board personnel will discuss guidelines for submitting SEA claims.

The school will work with you, as well as community agencies involved with your child, to determine exactly what your child will need to support him or her in the school environment.

If the school board purchased my child’s equipment, are we able to use it outside of school?

Yes. Different school boards have specific policies about taking equipment home and assigning responsibility for any equipment use outside of the school setting. Talk to your child’s principal regarding the school board’s guidelines for equipment use during evenings, weekends and school holidays.

If my child changes schools or school boards, does equipment purchased through SEA funding go with them?

Yes. Any equipment purchased through SEA can be moved to another school or school board in Ontario. This transfer of equipment however does not apply to private schools or post-secondary institutions.

If the school board is accessing SEA funding to purchase equipment needed at school, are we still able to access ADP (Assistive Devices Program) funding?

Yes. ADP can still be accessed to purchase equipment once your child enters school however this is for equipment that will be used primarily at home. Once a child enters school,

ADP will not fund equipment that is to be used primarily at school; this is when SEA funding should be explored.

Does my child have to go to school all day every day?

Junior and senior kindergarten programs are optional for students. All children must attend school full time starting at age 6. Most schools now offer full day, every day kindergarten programs and transportation is available on that basis. If you feel that your child may not be ready for full day, every day, schooling, share this information with the school principal. Flexible attendance can be included in your child’s transition plan to reflect your child’s needs and to help ensure your child’s first school experience is a positive one.

Please note, however, that most children want to attend on the same days as their classmates once they begin school. Transportation may not be available if you request an alternate schedule for your child.

Who will help my child in the washroom?

Your child`s safety and personal dignity are very important to school staff. If your child’s identified needs include help in the washroom, an educational assistant (EA) will be able to provide that care. The EA understands and provides support in a number of different areas such as personal care routines (e.g. washroom, dressing, etc.), medical needs (e.g. allergies, medications, etc.) and physical needs (e.g. mobility, lifting, feeding, etc.). In order to best plan support for your child, please make arrangements to meet with school staff, including the EA, if known, as soon as possible.

What is a nutrition break? How often are they scheduled?

Many school schedules are now based on a “balanced school day”, which consists of three instructional time blocks of 100 minutes each plus two 40 or 45 minute nutrition breaks in between. The balanced school day has replaced the traditional school day, which included two short recesses and a longer lunch/recess period. Each nutrition break includes time to eat, usually 20 minutes, and time outside. All nutrition breaks are fully supervised by school staff. If your child needs direct supervision when eating or during recess, an educational assistant or other school staff member will be available to support his or her needs.

What does a typical day look like?

Every school and Early Learning-Kindergarten classroom will be slightly different, but all are guided by the same principles, to provide a play-based learning environment and establish a strong foundation for lifelong learning. Most classes start with all children in a central meeting area and then each instructional block is broken up into a variety of activities that are designed to engage your child in hands-on learning and play opportunities. You may request a copy of your child’s schedule after school begins in September. Information about Full-Day Early Learning- Kindergarten Program and other resources are available at http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/kindergarten/

What is the difference between an educational assistant (EA) and a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE)?

An educational assistant (EA) is a trained educator working as part of your child’s support team. The EA works under the direction of the classroom teacher to implement your child’s program as outlined in his or her Individual Education Plan (IEP). All Full Day Early-Learning Kindergarten classrooms have a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) who works in partnership with the teacher to deliver the classroom program throughout the day. The role of the EA relates directly to specific student needs whereas the teacher and the RECE are responsible for the entire class.

What is the difference between the childcare resource teacher and the school resource teacher?

The childcare resource teacher supports children, their families and staff in early childhood settings. Responsibilities can include working directly with your child, advocating on his or her behalf and case management. The childcare resource teacher can play a key role in helping to make your child’s transition to school as smooth as possible. The time they have spent with your child can provide valuable information to your child’s support team.

The school resource teacher works with the school team, parents and outside agencies, as needed, to develop and implement programs based on a student’s individual needs. In addition, the school resource teacher also coordinates the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) and guides the development and implementation of the Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Who do I speak to about getting extra support for my child?

The school has a responsibility to meet your child’s needs. Additional support takes many forms and is allocated based on a number of factors including the documentation provided. It is essential that your child’s needs be clearly presented by you and members of your child’s support team (i.e. childcare staff and other professionals providing service to your child). This is usually done at your child’s case conference.

Can I spend some time at school with my child?

Schools are very eager to ensure a successful transition into the school setting and part of that transition can include parents spending some time at school with their child. This decision is made based on the child’s needs. You can discuss this with your child’s principal and this strategy can become part of your child’s transition plan, if necessary.

Do the kindergarten students go outside with the rest of the school during recess?

There is no standard practice or procedure for recess for kindergarten students within each school board. Variables such as the size of the school, space in the school yard and nutrition break schedules affect the recess routines for kindergarten students. Your child’s teacher or principal can provide details about the recess schedule for your child’s school.

How do you respond to bullying?

This is one of a series of important questions that parents often ask teachers and principals. Every school has a Code of Behaviour/Code of Conduct, based on the Safe Schools Act. This document is available to all parents and students. Your child’s teacher or principal should be able to clearly explain how the school deals with incidents that are contrary to the school’s Code of Behaviour/Code of Conduct. Every situation is dealt with on an individual basis, based on the needs and characteristics of the students involved. In the case of bullying, the school has a responsibility to inform parents of each incident and how it was dealt with.

For more information on Safe and Caring Schools, visit http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/speced/Caring_Safe_School.pdf

Where can I find information on school policies and procedures?

Information on school policies and procedures is available at the school. Most schools use a system of agenda books to communicate with parents. The opening pages of the agenda book often have a section dedicated to school policies and procedures. Please don’t hesitate to speak to your child’s principal should you have any specific questions regarding policies and procedures. For example, you may want to know how the school will support your child during fire drills or field trips or who to inform if your child is ill.

How will I know what is happening with my child at school?

Most schools have a system of agenda books that are used for daily communication between the school and home. Some schools have interactive, live websites that list what is happening daily as well as class activities. You can ask your child’s teacher how information will be communicated from school to home and from home to school. Make sure you also share with the school the type of information you would like to receive about your child’s day at school.

SCHOOL BUS TRANSPORTATION

The following information about school transportation is provided for reference only. Transportation for all the schools in the East and West Parry Sound districts is coordinated by the Nipissing-Parry Sound Student Transportation Services (NPSSTS). To ensure accuracy of information, please speak with your school principal or contact the NPSSTS by phone at (705) 472-8840 or (705) 773-7970, or by e-mail at info@npssts.ca. In order to allow NPSSTS enough time to review and respond to your request for transportation, it is best to contact the school or NPSSTS in the spring before your child starts school.

How will my child get to school?

Children in JK and SK are provided transportation; walking distances apply to students in other grades, unless there is an approved exception. Parents sometimes choose to provide their own transportation or walk their child to school. Please advise your child’s principal of your choice regarding transportation.

Who do I talk to about arranging transportation for my child?

Transportation must be requested through your child’s school. Discuss your child’s special needs with the school principal. Requests regarding such things as transportation for attending an “out of zone” school* or special transportation types (taxi, lift bus, etc.) are reviewed on an individual basis each year. Documentation regarding diagnosis, abilities, needs, etc. should be given to the school and will be kept on file at the transportation office.

*School boards have defined boundaries for each of their schools. When parents wish to have their child attend a school other than the one identified for their home or daycare address, it is called “out of zone”. To check which school is in your zone visit npssts.ca and click on “Eligibility” or call the number above. Contact the school principal if you wish to discuss your child attending an “out of zone” school.

Can my child be picked up and dropped off at different addresses?

Transportation to or from childcare can be arranged under certain circumstances which include:

  • The address is within the school zone
  • The schedule is consistent

 

For example, a child can be picked up at childcare in the morning and dropped off at home in the afternoon, as long as it follows the same routine. Parents’ work schedules will not be accommodated.

If a joint custody agreement is in place, you must submit a Joint Custody form with a schedule to your child’s principal. This form is available at all schools. To obtain transportation for both parental households, the schedule must follow a full week at each address (Monday to Friday, alternating weekly, biweekly or monthly) and a bus route servicing your child’s school must already exist for the locations requested: a route will not be altered to accommodate joint custody agreements.

Can I go on the bus with my child?

No. The driver is responsible for everyone on their bus and is not allowed to take any non-student passengers, unless they are an employee of the NPSSTS or otherwise employed in relation to student transportation (i.e. adult bus monitors).

Can I get transportation if I want my child to attend school for only part of the day?

Unless the decision for partial attendance is made by the child’s support team (parent, school, school board and community agency, if involved), parents choosing to have their child attend only a half day are responsible for providing transportation mid-day. Note that your child can still take the bus in the morning or the afternoon.

Can I get transportation to a different address than usual for a certain day or week?

No. Temporary changes are not accommodated for safety reasons. Alternate arrangements must be made by the family if the established routine is changed on a temporary basis. 

 

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Disclaimer: This document reflects the views of the author. It is Autism Ontario’s intent to inform and educate. Every situation is unique and while we hope this information is useful, it should be used in the context of broader considerations for each person. Please contact Autism Ontario at info@autismontario.com or 416-246-9592 for permission to reproduce this material for any purpose other than personal use. © 2012 Autism Ontario  416.246.9592  www.autismontario.com.
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1.22. 13-22 Parent Resources

The following resources can provide additional information to parents wishing to explore topics in more detail.

Planning Entry to School: A Resource Guide

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/planningentry.pdf

Learning to Play and Playing to Learn: Getting Ready for School 

http://www.beststart.org/resources/hlthy_chld_dev/pdf/school_readines s_english_fnl.pdf

The Individual Education Plan (IEP)

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/speced/guide/resource/i epresguid.pdf