Innovative program is helping 20,000 children get ready for kindergarten

    TORONTO, June 22 /CNW/ - Preschool children and their parents from across
Canada are being given the opportunity to get ready for kindergarten this
fall, with the help of a learning initiative created by The Learning
Partnership. Welcome to Kindergarten(TM) is a program that provides resources
which enable parents and teachers to help prepare students for the start of
kindergarten by introducing early literacy and numeric learning skills.
    "More than ever before, it's important that we reach out to parents and
teachers - and help provide them with the necessary tools to make sure that
children are given the opportunities to succeed at school," says Veronica
Lacey, President and CEO, The Learning Partnership. "Welcome to Kindergarten
is a wonderful program that engages pre-school children and their parents as
they embark on their journey of lifelong learning."
    More than 520 elementary public schools and over 20,000 families in
British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick are
participating in the program this year. It is anticipated that 50,000 children
will be enrolled in the program next year.
    Recent research has found that when parents are given the proper early
learning resources for use at home, pre-school children are better prepared
for school and learning. Furthermore, parents who establish a foundation in
early learning for their children, while at home, are better prepared to
support school success and lifelong learning.
    Welcome to Kindergarten provides a great start, familiarity and comfort
for pre-school children and gives parents the opportunity to acquire new
strategies to help their children develop a love of learning.
    Parents and children, who are enrolled in a participating school, attend
a Welcome to Kindergarten orientation session where they receive a Welcome to
Kindergarten Bag containing resource tools and activities to help children get
ready for their first school experience including magnetic letters and
numbers, story books, thick crayons, pencil, glue stick, round end scissors, a
scribbler and coloured construction paper, templates of upper and lower case
letters and numbers 1-10, as well as a parent information pamphlet "Help Your
Child Get Ready For School".
    "Welcome to Kindergarten is one of the most powerful 'parent engagement'
opportunities I have ever been a part of," says Gord Wagner, principal at
Jersey Public School, York Region District School Board. "We all feel that
this is an incredible tool for connecting with our families. This program,
from The Learning Partnership, is so powerful. It establishes trust,
connection and excitement about the kindergarten program and the importance of
early learning initiatives."
    Now in its fourth year, Welcome to Kindergarten is also available in
French and has parent information available in 20 languages.
    Welcome to Kindergarten is made possible through the generous support of
TD Bank Financial Group, British Columbia Ministry of Education, John and Judy
Bragg Family Foundation, The Calgary Foundation, Government of New Brunswick,
Government of Ontario, Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat (Ontario) Literacy
Now/2010 Legacies Now Society, McCain Foundation and the Ontario Trillium

    Established in 1993, The Learning Partnership is a national
not-for-profit organization dedicated to championing a strong public education
system in Canada through innovative programs, credible research, policy
initiatives and public engagement. Since its inception, more than three
million students and teachers have participated in one or more of TLP's
programs, including Take Our Kids to Work(TM) and Canada's Outstanding
Principals(TM). For information on TLP, log onto

For further information:

For further information: George James, The Learning Partnership, (416)
440-5124 or (416) 402-3783 or 1-800-790-9113,

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