Before the First Day

Will there be a staggered entry, and what is that?

Staggered entry is a process that schools may use in order to allow time for students to transition to starting school in the first week of school following Labour Day. All students will be in attendance by the end of that first week. For example, this may mean that some new students would begin school on Wednesday, or Thursday or Friday of that week. The following week would see full enrollment for each class. You will receive the date of your child’s entry before the start of the school year.

When will I find out bussing information? What do we need to know about bussing for our child?

Your child’s school will directly communicate with you about bussing information if you have indicated that bussing is required on the Registration form. 

Check the SCSTC's website at for a wealth of information, including dates, locations and times of the First Rider Program.

When will we find out who the teacher is?

Your child’s school will directly communicate with you to provide information about Kindergarten for your child prior to the start of the 2020/2021 school year. The educator team consists of both the classroom teacher and designated early childhood educator who work together to guide your child’s learning. The names of those educators will not necessarily be indicated prior to the start of this school year as this team may change after the first two weeks of school are completed based upon school registration numbers.

Will there be an opportunity to talk to the teacher in advance?

Staffing for all classrooms is not usually confirmed until September.You and your child will be introduced to your child’s educators in early September. Click the following link for our school websites: What Catholic School is in My Area? If you have concerns or information to share about your child and their transition to Kindergarten, please contact your school with a detailed message. (before 3rd July and after 26th August).

Can we visit the school before the first day of school?

At this time visits to schools are not possible. All schools in Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board will be closed for the remainder of the 2019/2020 school year and through the Summer. Any changes in this situation will be communicated on the board site:

More information will be available in the coming months about how schools will adapt to ensure a safe learning space for students. We will provide you and your child with plans and protocols before school begins.

What does my child need for Kindergarten? Will you be providing a list in advance?

There are always ways in which the parents, the child’s first teachers, can provide support in their child’s life. There are ways of keeping your child happy, safe and ready that may begin at home as you support your child to learn some practical needs at school. For example, have your child work to independence with putting shoes on and off. Parents should consider the proper fit and ease by purchasing shoes for in the classroom that have velcro straps; Support your child to support independence with personal care skills to include toileting, hygiene, opening and closing lunch containers, putting on a coat, etc.. You will be asked to provide a change of clothing which is season appropriate and fit for your growing child, backpack that is big enough to hold their lunch and a communication bag, in addition to shoes for indoors. Please label all your child’s personal items with their name. You will find more suggestions and tips to support your child with a happy, healthy transition to beginning Kindergarten here: Parent Resources

What skills should my child have before they go to Kindergarten? (personal skills, as well as literacy/numeracy skills) Does my child need to be toilet trained?

We might suggest that it would be helpful to support your child in learning to:

Recognize his/her own first and last name

Show interest and ability to listen to stories read aloud

Share and take turns

Put on and take off shoes (velcro shoes are best for this and for fit)

Practice bathroom routines like dressing, undressing, flushing the toilet and washing hands

Button and zip clothing

Tidy up toys when finished playing

For some additional information, please see our board Kindergarten website for: Parent Resources as well as the Ontario Ministry information: Full-Day Kindergarten, Preparing Your Child

What does pick-up/drop-off look like?

When dropping your child off at school, please know the start and end times for your school since school hours vary from school to school. You can quickly locate your school’s hours on your school website: School Directory

Typically, the procedures at our schools for dropping your child off and picking your child up at the routine times will look like the following:

Dropping your child off at school is a quick and supportive start to your child’s day. A staff supervisor will be in the Kindergarten yard 15 minutes before school and can be dropped off at the Kindergarten gate, adjoined to the Kindergarten yard. Please ensure there is a yard supervisor present before you leave.

If arriving after the school day has started the doors will be locked, please enter through the front doors of the school and stop at the office to pick up a late slip.

Pick up at the end of the school day will be at the same location as drop off. Your child will be dismissed to you. 

If your child takes the school bus, your child will be walked from the busses to the Kindergarten playground each morning and walked to the bus at the end of the day.

Specifics will be communicated by your child’s school for routine procedures. Please let your child’s educators know if there will be any planned change in your child’s pick-up routine.

Is there before and after care at the school? How do you apply for after school care?

There are a number of schools throughout our board that work with community partners to offer child care programs on site. Some of the schools participate in the province of Ontario's Best Start Program, some are offering programs as part of the province's Full Day Kindergarten program and others have independently operated child care facilities on-site. Please contact the provider directly for information. Here is the link provided on our board website for the contact information for each of the childcare programs in any of our schools:

Are their restrictions to what food I can send for lunch/snacks? (e.g. is WOW butter allowed?)

All of our schools strive to be “Nut-Aware” and we ask that no nut or peanut products be sent to school. It is best to check with your child’s teacher or DECE as well as your school’s website about any additional food restrictions that may be in place. Many children have allergies. A few however, are life threatening. Some children, for example, are severely allergic to peanut butter. Even a tiny bit can be fatal within minutes. Peanut butter substitutions such as “Wow Butter” are not to be brought into our schools in order to avoid any confusion that may result in an accidental exposure to peanut butter which can cause anaphylaxis.

My daughter is turning 4 in October. Can she start to go to school in September?

Yes, if your child is born in 2016, has or is turning four years old in any month of 2020, we welcome you to register to begin in the two year Kindergarten program in your Catholic school.

With schools closed, will all schools have a “welcome to kindergarten” website?

Every school website will have some key information to welcome you and your kindergarten child. Please click the following link to go to your school website: School Directory List

How does a parent of a child with autism prepare for their child to start school, is there anything specific they need or should have that could help them?

Your role as your child's primary care-giver and educator makes your involvement very important. Education truly is a partnership between home and school, where the ultimate goal is providing the best learning experience for your child. For students who require some transition support prior to the start of the school year (such as school lifts and transfer training) it will be included in the Action plan developed by the school team to ensure the best possible experience for your child. For more, please see the following information provided by the Autism Ontario website: Preparing for Kindergarten: Ideas for Families

Is bus orientation still happening as originally planned? Additional bus questions:

Currently, the “First Rider Program” to orient students to taking a bus is tentatively in place for the Summer of 2020. Taking the school bus can be an exciting adventure for our littlest students. For schools in our board, transportation is coordinated by the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium (SCSTC) and is provided for students who live further than 1.6 kilometers from their school. Check the SCSTC's website at for a wealth of information, including dates, locations and times of the First Rider Program.

Are there any recommendations on apps or other resources you can recommend that follow the curriculum closely?

The Kindergarten Program 2016 This document sets out what four- and five-year-olds across the province will learn in Ontario’s two-year kindergarten program and how educators will help your child learn through play and inquiry.

SMCDSB Learn at Home Resources- Elementary Resources These resources for parents and students are recommended in support of student learning.

What are school hours for JK?

Every school in our board provides the precise start of day and end of day times posted on their website. All Kindergarten children in our 2 year program attend school for this full day (approximately 6 hours). Please click the following link for precise start and end of day at your school on the website: School Directory List