Keep the Bloorview Integrated Kindergarten Program open.
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The Integrated Kindergarten Program at Bloorview is a unique program. The composition of the students is designed with the intention to build empathy, a strong sense of self and self-advocacy and a deeper understanding, through experience, of the value of diverse friendships. The students are immersed in an environment where respect for differences is the backdrop for building a solid academic foundation through inquiry-based learning. Their teacher Paul Alcamo won the Ontario Premier's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011. So many of us were deeply disappointed and saddened that after 21 years running, the Board has decided to close the program next year (2017-2018) due to low enrollment.
As parents and supporters of this incredible learning environment, we have planned a program information night and open house that we hoped would generate more interest and ultimately enrollment for the 2017/18 and subsequent years. We already have parents that have committed to volunteering as panelists, tour guides etc.
The current junior kindergarten kids are the ones to lose the most: a program stressing that kids don't see each other as different but simply as friends.
We hope that the Board will reconsider its decision for the 2017-2018 school year and work with parents for the 2018-2019 school year to so we #dontbreakthemagic.
Parents say it best:
"As a teacher, I wish with that all classrooms were this magical. I wish the ‘academics’ were as rich and the approach as innovative. I wish the teachers were as supportive and the friendships as honest. After 20 years there is a decrease in the enrollment of kids from the community - kids without disabilities. Consider this a plea that I am extending out to the universe; that the enrollment of children without disabilities increases so this kindergarten program can continue and that the magic here is not lost."
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