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Frequently Asked Questions

How old does my child have to be to start Kindergarten?

Your child's Kindergarten journey starts in the year they turn 4. To begin Kindergarten in September 2024, your child will have been born in 2020

How can I find my home school?

By using our School Locator tool: Find A School. Just plug in your address, and it will show you all your DSBN school options.

How can I register for Kindergarten, and what information do I need?

Go to our DSBN Online Kindergarten Registration page and you can register your child for Kindergarten online. To register your child, you will need:

  1. Age. A birth certificate or baptismal record or passport
  2. Proof of Address. Including any two of the following current documents:
  • Utility bill (e.g. hydro, gas, water)
  • Cable TV
  • Internet
  • Home phone bill
  • Insurance policy (home, tenant, auto or life)
  • Mortgage statement
  • Rental or lease agreement or deed
  • Current purchase and sale agreement
  • Property tax bill or notice of tax assessment
  • Original correspondence from a government agency or legal clinic may be accepted as a second proof of address document
  • Your school will be in touch later in the year to tell you how you can get the required documentation to them

What does a typical day in Kindergarten look like?

In Kindergarten, children follow what we call a ‘flow of the day.’ The day will consist of large blocks of indoor and outdoor exploration, whole group, small group and individual activities, snack and lunchtimes, and opportunities to visit the library and gym. You may be wondering about the school hours and when you drop off and pick up your child. This information will be shared with you prior to starting school. You can also see this information on your school’s website.

Who is in the classroom with my child on a daily basis?

Click here to see and walk through a typical classroom at the DSBN! The Kindergarten environment is truly a place filled with wonder, curiosity, and excitement (and lots of energy!). There are normally two educators in the classroom, an Ontario Certified Teacher and a Designated Early Childhood Educator. These educators work together to plan and implement your child’s Kindergarten program. They make a variety of learning tools available to encourage children to explore their interests, collaborate, ask questions, and communicate their learning in lots of different ways. If you have specific questions about your child’s school or educators, you are more than welcome to contact your school at any time! They will happily answer your questions.

What do children learn in Kindergarten?

The Ontario Kindergarten Program document guides educators in how and what children learn during their first two years of school. In Kindergarten, play and curiosity are the vehicles for learning! They will learn literacy, math, problem-solving, self-regulation, and many more things through hands-on and playful experiences.Watch this video we made with a Kindergarten teacher that talks more about this, and more on what Kindergarten is like at DSBN.

The Kindergarten program is organized into four key areas. They reflect the way in which learning naturally occurs during children’s exploration, play, and inquiry. They are:

  1. Belonging & Contributing: In Kindergarten, students really begin to explore where they fit into the world and their role as community members. As they engage and play with their peers, students learn about the nature of relationships and their connections with one another and begin to understand the contributions they can make to their group, community and the natural world.
  2. Self-Regulation & Well-Being: Students matter as individuals. Learning in Kindergarten helps them to become more self-aware and understand their own thinking and feelings. Kindergarten students learn important life skills such as the ability to regulate their emotions, how to adapt to distractions and understanding the consequences of their actions. They also begin to develop an appreciation for their own health and wellness.
  3. Demonstrating Literacy & Mathematics Behaviours: In Kindergarten, students develop an awareness that they matter as learners. Students show literacy in the way they use language, pictures, and materials to express themselves. Using numbers and patterns during play strengthens their developing mathematics skills.
  4. Problem-Solving and Innovating: Kindergarten students begin to make sense of their world by asking questions, solving problems, and engaging in creative play. They quickly learn the fun of making predictions and testing their theories to see what happens.
    If you want to learn more about the specifics of the Kindergarten Program document, it is available through the Ministry website here. You are always welcome to call your school to learn more as well.

What can I do to prepare my child for their first day?

There are lots of things you can do to help your child feel ready for their first day of school. Here are some tips from one of our Kindergarten teachers and Early Years Consultants:

  • Read Barkley’s First Day together! This uplifting story is a DSBN original. Barkley, our friendly and adorable Kindergarten mascot, helps children understand what it may feel like to start their first day of school. It also has great conversation starters and activities you can do together. You can read an e-version here.
  • You can begin to invite your child to try routines independently, like doing up their own zippers, putting on and taking off their shoes and coats, etc.
  • Oral language development is very important for our early learners! It sets the foundation for early literacy skills. Whenever you can, have conversations together, tell stories, sing songs, ask questions, be curious, and wonder with them. Encourage lots of talking by asking your little one to, “tell you more!”
  • Social skills are also very important. When able, find opportunities for your child to interact with other children. They will begin to learn and practice communication skills, sharing, turn-taking, problem-solving, negotiating, perspective-taking, and learning about emotions and empathy.
  • And there’s more about reading, too. Reading together or telling stories helps to spark an early love for reading and learning more about the world around us. Look for environmental print (like signs and packaging) in the world around you and your child. Ask your child what a sign or package says, for example. Or when they say ‘Goldfish!’ or ‘Tim Horton’s,’ praise them for being a reader.
  • Anytime a child represents something on paper with a writing utensil (marker, paint brush, pencil, etc.), ask them about it. Even scribbles are a form of communication. In fact, scribbling is a very natural stage of the writing process and your child’s learning.
  • Find numbers, patterns, and shapes in your environment, and talk about them together.

What materials does my child need to bring to school?

Your child’s school will provide you with ideas and suggested items that your child may need for school. This list may include:

  • A backpack
  • Indoor shoes
  • Outdoor clothing suited to the season (lots of outdoor play!)
  • Spare clothing
  • Water bottle
  • Nut-free snacks and lunch
  • It’s also a helpful idea to label your child’s belongings so they can be returned

You will hear from your school closer to the first day of school in September, or you are welcome to reach out at any time to ask!

Can my child ride the bus to school? Where can I find more information about busing?

YES! Kindergarten students who live more than 800 metres from their home school are eligible for transportation to and from their home school. You can check your eligibility for transportation by visiting the Niagara Student Transportation Services website. A letter will be mailed to the homes of registered Junior Kindergarten students during the summer outlining transportation arrangements.

You can find your home school by using our School Locator Tool here.

How will I know what my child is doing in school?

Ongoing, clear and meaningful communication between families, their child and the Kindergarten educator team is vital to your child’s growth in learning. DSBN carefully monitors and formally communicates the progress of Kindergarten students three times over the course of the school year through an Initial Observations Report in the fall, and Communication of Learning Reports in the winter and spring. These documents celebrate your child’s key learning, growth in learning, and provide next steps to continue to support your child. Additional communication supports such as translators and Settlement Workers in Schools are available to support families with technology and communication between home and school.

Your child’s educators will share with you the many ways that they will be communicating with you throughout the school year. And at any point during the school year, if you have a question or want to know more about your child’s learning, you can contact your child’s teacher.

If my child is not toilet trained, can they still go to Kindergarten

Yes, absolutely! Toileting can be a challenge for a short period of time at the start of the year for some children, especially if it is their first time away from home. Your child’s educators will be very supportive during this time and can assist your child as they become comfortable with their new environment and flow of their day.

How will my child adjust to being in school and how will they be supported?

Every child is unique, and that means they all adjust differently. Kindergarten educators are understanding, caring, and they value developing relationships of trust with the children and their parents/guardians. There are some children who feel unsure about coming in, but once they see their friends and the wonderful learning spaces in the classroom, they become more comfortable each day. If you are concerned or worried about your child’s adjustment, share this with your child’s educators and they will support you throughout this transition time.

What are the entry and dismissal routines like?

Children who arrive at school on the bus will be greeted by staff and walked to and from the bus at arrival and dismissal times. For families who will be dropping off their child, a designated drop off and pick up area will be set by the school. If your child attends before and after school care, the child care provider will share the information for this routine with you before the start of school. You are more than welcome to reach out to your school if you have specific questions. You can click here to find out if you are eligible for transportation by Niagara Student Transportation Services.

Is Kindergarten a half-day or full-day?

The Kindergarten program is a full-day program. If a family feels concerned about the length of the day, they can reach out to their home school principal to discuss their child’s needs and ways to smooth the transition. But rest assured, experience tells us that even our youngest Kindergarten students adapt to the full day of learning in no time!

How does before and after school child care work?

We work closely with several community partners to provide before and after school child care options. Many child care partners are located inside our schools or close by:

Are there accommodations for children with learning disabilities?

The Kindergarten program is designed to continually assess your child’s learning and to set up activities that will guide them towards their next steps. This means educators in your child’s classroom will be aware of your child’s strengths and learning needs. Additionally, each school has a Special Education team who meet regularly to discuss strategies that will support the specific children in their classrooms. The DSBN also works with community agencies through a thorough preschool transition program. If your child has been supported in a child care centre, or through the Niagara Children’s Centre, the school team will be connected with these experts who already know your child well. Strategies are shared even before the school year begins so your child can get off to the best possible start. Please speak with your principal or child’s teacher to discuss your child’s learning needs and options further.

Are there French Immersion options for Kindergarten at DSBN?

French Immersion begins at the DSBN in Grade 1. We offer English programming for Kindergarten to ensure all our students get a solid foundation in English-language literacy skills. Families will receive information about French Immersion when their child is in SK for a Grade 1 start. French Immersion programs are offered across the DSBN in Grades 1 through 12. You can find out your home French Immersion school by using our You can find your home school by using our School Locator Tool here.

Will I be able to visit my school and meet the teachers?

We're happy to say, YES! When you attend a DSBN Kindergarten Open House, families can meet their principals, educators, and maybe even other families and children at the Open House too. Our Open Houses also give families and future students the chance to see their school and classroom, allowing your child to have a glimpse into what Kindergarten is all about. Parents have told us the Kindergarten Open Houses gives them comfort in knowing that their child is learning in a caring and engaging environment.

Our Kindergarten Open Houses are held on the first Thursday of February from 10am to 6pm every year. But if you can't make it, that's okay! You are always welcome to contact your school to set up a visit at a time that works for you.

Who can I reach out to with more questions?

We offer Kindergarten at the DSBN in elementary schools across Niagara – and each one has its own unique building, school culture, and staff. For any additional questions you may have that are specific to your child’s learning needs or school, please contact your school at any time by email or phone. You can find your school’s contact information and website by clicking here. If you need to find your home school, you can find it here by using our School Locator Tool.

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