Welcome!

We're sad we cannot see you in person, however we've tried to bring the night to you, virtually!

We know your time is valuable and you may not want to watch a lengthy presentation. This portal offers a wealth of information, in video and text format. You can view this page at anytime and at your convenience... and you don't even have to brave the cold!

Our team has put together this information portal comprised of all questions surrounding Kindergarten - from past parents, our Educator Teams and even some of our amazing Kinders!

While we're here, let's talk about Kindergrow Bags! In the past, anyone who attended Welcome to Kindergarten Night received a bag. This year we are following all safety guidelines outlined by public health and minimizing visitors to our schools. Bags are not available for pickup at your neighbourhood school during this time. We are very hopeful that school and classroom tours, along with an opportunity to meet the classroom educators (even if it's outdoors!) can be planned in the months ahead.
 During this time, each family will receive a Welcome to Kindergarten bag filled with information and activities

This page offers all you need to know, so sit back, keep scrolling, relax and enjoy "the night"... or perhaps day.

Welcome to the Family!

- TBCDSB Kindergrow Team

PS. Don't forget to fill-out the survey here, to win a basket filled with goodies for your child!

Register for Kindergrow, Here

Messages in a Minute!

Learn more via video or text about some of the amazing things about Kindergrow!

Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ)

  • Upon registration in one of our schools, you will receive a phone call sometime prior to entry, from the school’s resource teacher who will schedule a meeting date with you to complete the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (or ASQ) .
  • If your child attends a community Childcare Program, the ASQ may be completed by their resource staff. This screening tool provides a quick look at how children are doing in important areas, such as communication, physical ability, social skills, and problem-solving skills.
  • As a parent or caregiver, you are the best source of information about your child. Your answers help us to learn about your child’s - strengths and areas that may benefit from a little more support.
  • This screening tool is not a test but instead supports young children’s growth and development. By partnering with us, and completing the ASQ screening tool, you are making sure your child is off to the best possible start!

French Immersion & Ojibwe

  • Thunder Bay Catholic offers a French Immersion Program at both St. Bernard and St. Martin School. This program, which begins in Year 2 Kindergarten, continues in Grade 7 & 8 at Pope John Paul and Bishop Gallagher and can be completed at both St. Patrick and St. Ignatius High School.
  • French Immersion is for any student interested in learning a second language and who wants to work towards the DELF, which is a Diploma in French Language Studies, upon graduation.
  • Parents of students in French Immersion do not need to be bilingual. Many students in French Immersion do extremely well in the program despite not speaking French in the home.
  • We also offer Ojibwe programs at St. Ann, St. Jude, St. Martin, St. Elizabeth, Our Lady of Charity, Pope John Paul II, Bishop Gallagher, Bishop EQ Jennings, St. Patrick High School and St. Ignatius High School.
  • This program offers students the opportunity of learning Ojibwe from northern Ontario. In this program, students learn both oral and written Ojibwe language with the integration of Indigenous culture and philosophy.

Values & Virtues

  • A Catholic school is a distinctive educational community with core values, principles and fundamental beliefs.
  • The religious education program in our schools is based on the understanding that the child is the centre of an interrelated system that includes the family, the school, the broader community, and the world.
  • The expectations guiding the learning journey for all students are described not only in terms of knowledge and skills but also in terms of values, attitudes and actions.
  • Our inquiry-based program gives children opportunities to discover their strengths, interests and God-given talents in a way that fosters their personal and social development.
  • Our schools welcome students and families of all faiths. Our curriculum incorporates religion courses pertaining to our Catholic faith, along with other faith traditions and world religions. Values and virtues are interwoven throughout the curriculum.
  • You do not need to be Catholic to attend a Catholic School.

Before and After Care

  • The Ministry of Education supports an integrated early years and child care system in which school board and child care professionals work in partnership to provide seamless, high-quality programs for children throughout the day.
  • At Thunder Bay Catholic, 11 of our elementary schools offer Before and After Care in the school.
  • These programs help to provide a seamless and integrated culture where well-being is valued and children experience a strong sense of belonging, engagement and freedom to express their ideas.

Second Step

  • To make the big transition to elementary school, kids need to learn new skills, such as how to control impulses, stay focused, and follow rules.
  • The research-based Second Step program helps teachers give students the skills and confidence they need to adjust to a full day of learning.
  • Kids are captivated by the colourful Second Step lesson cards, interactive songs, games, and especially beloved puppets who encourage children’s participation and Be-Calm Bunny helps kindergartners wait for their turn to speak.
  • Second Step Kindergarten lessons begin with skills for learning and the Listening Rules, which set the stage for future academic success and later lessons in identifying feelings, managing strong emotions, solving problems, and getting along with others.
  • Activities, Brain Builder games, and partner work keep children engaged and help them practice their skills.

Zones of Regulation

  • Zones of Regulation is a framework for teaching student’s strategies for emotional and sensory self-management.
  • The Zones approach uses four colours and visuals to help students identify how they are feeling in the moment given their emotions and level of alertness, as well as guide them to strategies to support regulation.
  • By understanding how to notice their body’s signals, detect triggers, read the social context and consider how their behaviour impacts those around them, students learn improved emotional control, sensory regulation, self-awareness, and problem-solving abilities.

Special Education

  • We are a school Board that encourages active learning through methods that stimulate and are inclusive of all children regardless of their ability.
  • The Kindergarten program is flexible programming which allows educators to facilitate learning for all.
  • Children learn in their own way and come to us with their unique skills and abilities and we meet the child where they are.
  • If your child has special needs, physical, medical, social or developmental, we need to start the process of gathering the information about your child’s needs as soon as possible. This will ensure a smooth and successful entry to school.

Deep Learning

  • We want to help your child develop skills and competencies to better prepare them for careers that might not even exist today.
  • Over the past few years, our school board has entered into a global partnership with New Pedagogies for Deep Learning.
  • We seek to empower all of our students to build character, be critical thinkers, be creative, be collaborative, be effective communicators, be citizens of the world.
  • Our educators are striving to be activators of learning who design real-life learning experiences that build on learner strengths and needs, create new knowledge, and help all students identify their talents, purpose and passion.


Register for Kindergrow, Here

What Kindergarten Looks Like!

Take a peek into the day in a life at TBCDSB.

Your child's journey begins with us in Kindergarten and concludes graduation day in High School.

Your child will dive into deep learning, explore their thoughts, feelings and emotions. They will inquire and nurture their faith and spirituality and make make life-long friendships throughout their educational journey. They will be cheered on by educators and staff during their milestones and accomplishments but most importantly, they will grow and flourish in a loving and caring family environment. Because family isn't just at home, it's also at school.

*Please note: Footage/photography was taken prior to COVID-19, thus PPE and social distancing practices are not illustrated in some of our materials.

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You have questions, we have answers!

The most frequently asked questions our Kindergarten Educator Teams receive can be found below.

Is Kindergarten Full-Day?

Yes. The Early Learning Kindergarten Program (ELKP) (formally known as Junior and Senior Kindergarten) is a full-day, everyday program.

What age does my student have to be, in order to attend school?

If your student turns 4 by December 31, 2021 they are eligible to start Kindergarten this September.

With restrictions in place due to COVID-19, will Year 1 students and parents have an opportunity to visit the school and meet the educators?

We know the importance of you having an opportunity to get into your child’s school but we are following all safety guidelines outlined by public health so this will have to wait. We are very hopeful that by Spring we will be permitted to have visitors in our schools and welcome you in person. This may mean a visit in our outdoor classroom but we're very creative and we'll do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition to Kindergarten. You can learn more about our COVID-19 protocols, here.

What if my child can’t…do up their zipper/tie their shoes?

All Kindergarten classes have both a Teacher and Early Childhood Educator that are there to help! They will do their best to help, while focusing on teaching new skills and promoting independence.

Will someone assist my child to prepare for outside play according to seasonal recommendations?

Yes, as the seasons change educators will work with students on what these changes mean for how to dress and what activities they can participate in (ie: the playground equipment is closed during the winter).

What if my child is sad and crying?

This is completely normal.

The school environment is new and so are many of the faces your child is encountering. We expect some mixed emotions. Our staff is there to support and help your child work through all their various emotions. We also use two different programs, Zones of Regulation and Second Step (see Message in a Minute links) that help teach children about all the emotions and how to self-regulate.

What do they need to bring?

Your child will need to bring a backpack, lunch bag, pair of indoor running shoes and if possible, an extra set of clothes. The school will supply your child with any necessary school supplies.

Does my child need to be toilet trained before starting school?

It is the expectation of our Catholic schools that your child attends to his/her own toileting needs before starting school. As children learn and grow, considerations will be made for children with medical or developmental conditions that interfere with regular toilet training. In our Thunder Bay Catholic Schools the partnership with families is an essential piece of supporting parents as they prepare their children with skills for Kindergarten success. Our belief that every child is capable and ready to learn, is enhanced by encouraging a positive self-image and pride in mastery of these skills. While building relationships and supporting you as a family, here are some resources which will provide strategies and ideas as you strive to toilet train your child.

Please see the links below to access websites/books that may support you and your child with their training:

How many times a day do they eat? What do I pack?

All TBCDSB schools are on a Balanced Day (see schedule below) and eat during each Nutrition Break. Here are a few links to the Thunder Bay District Health Unit that will help with suggestions for packing snacks and a lunch.

Does my child need to be Catholic in order to attend a Catholic school?

No. Our schools welcome students and families of all faiths. Our curriculum incorporates religion courses pertaining to our Catholic faith, along with other faith traditions and world religions. Values and virtues are interwoven throughout the curriculum.

Which school is my student zoned for?

Each student is eligible to attend a zoned school and is provided transportation based on their home address for our Board, grade and program selected. You can access Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay to determine eligibility.

How do I know my child arrived at school on the bus?

There will always be multiple staff greeting students when the bus arrives at school. If for some reason your child does not arrive on the bus, you will receive a call from our School Secretary through the Safe Arrival Program. Rest assured that the bus drivers also do a “sweep” to ensure that all students are off the bus.

Will someone be in charge of getting my child on the correct bus home?

Yes, there will always be multiple staff sending students off on the correct bus at the end of the day. The staff carry bus lists and ensure that they check off which students are on which bus. This is especially important at the beginning of the year when children are unsure - but you’d be surprised on how quickly they develop independence and are able to locate the correct bus on their own.

Will someone call if my child is ill?

Absolutely! If your child is ill and reports the illness to one of the educators (or if one of the educators notices a change in how the student is feeling) a staff member from the school (most likely the secretary) will call and make you aware.

If I notice reversals of letters and numbers, how do I know my child isn’t dyslexic?

As children learn to read and write, it's not unusual for young learners to reverse letters and/or numbers. If your child is still reversing letters and numbers at age 7 or 8 this may require further investigation.

What does the school day schedule look like?

All TBCDSB schools are on a Balanced Day. The school day schedule looks like this (start and end times may vary by 5 to 10 minutes):

    • 9:00 - 10:40 a.m. - 100 minute instructional block
    • 10:40 - 11:20 a.m. - 40 minute Nutrition Break
    • 11:20 a.m. -1:00 p.m. - 100 minute instructional block
    • 1:00 - 1:40 p.m. - 40 minute Nutrition Break
    • 1:40-3:20 p.m. - 100 minute instructional block

Our Awesome Community Partners!

  • Communities Together for Children ~ EarlyON Child and Family Centres
  • Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay
  • Creative Therapy Associates
  • Mahmowenchike Family Development Centre
  • Thunder Bay Public Library
  • George Jeffrey Children’s Centre
  • Children’s Centre Thunder Bay
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  • Canadian Parents for French
  • Roots of Empathy

  • I Have More Questions

    We have answers! Click here to access our form where you can submit your questions directly to our team!


    https://www.tbcschools.ca/education/welcome-kindergarten

    © Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board 2021