The Quebec Ministry of Education is proposing to allow four-year-old children from underprivileged families to attend elementary school full-time as part of a campaign to curb the province’s disturbingly high dropout rate.
More than one in three students in the province – 36 per cent – leave school without graduating. And studies showed that most of them come from poor families. For instance, a study conducted in 2008 by the Montreal Health and Social Services Agency concluded that 35 per cent of 5-year-old kindergarten students on the Island of Montreal were from needy families, showed signs of neglect and had learning disabilities that would likely impede their academic progress.
“The program is designed to allow students to experience the benefits of increased flexibility, strength, focus and concentration,” the course description says. “Students will learn to be non-judgmental about their own and others’ yoga practice. Through continued practice, students will relieve stress, learn to relax and experience the health benefits of yoga practice.”
[EDMONTON, CANADA] A promising new program that teaches students to pause before reacting to turbulent emotions and conflict is being tested at a west-end elementary school, mental health and school officials said Tuesday.
The change in the students’ behaviour at Our Lady of the Prairies Catholic School was almost immediate when educators introduced the PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) program in October, said Tom Shand, executive director of the Alberta division of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Teacher training in Ontario will be bumped up to two years starting in 2014, says the provincial government.
The Liberals, who promised the move during the 2011 election campaign, began consultations with education groups on Wednesday about the change.
Three to four additional sessions are planned for April and May.
Teachers typically earn a four-year undergraduate degree and then spend another year at university completing their bachelor of education. (Ten of the 13 universities with education programs also offer the degrees concurrently so students can complete the two at the same time.)
The Liberals have said more training is needed given the challenges and increasing demands teachers face. The expanded program, the details of which have yet to be finalized, will include more practical, in-class training for new teachers.
Researchers in the University of Toronto’s neuroscience department are planning to launch a website that will make information about neuroscience and its implications for instruction available to educators this fall.
The website is part of a project called “The Adolescent Brain: Implications for Instruction,” which will also include a quarterly newsletter and professional development courses. Hazel McBride and Michael Ferrari, both researchers with the University’s well-known Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, say they’re responding to teachers’ interest in using research in neuroscience to inform classroom practices.