The Ontario government has announced a new kindergarten curriculum that will introduce mandatory learning through clear and direct instruction in reading, writing and math for the province’s youngest learners. The new curriculum, which will be implemented in September 2025, aims to ensure students have the foundational skills in literacy and math and intellectual growth that will help set them up for long-term success.
New Learning Expectations for Kindergarten Students
The new curriculum will include new learning expectations for kindergarten students, such as a focus on understanding sound-letter relationships, building phonics knowledge and using specific vocabulary words. These skills will help students develop a passion for reading and writing and prepare them for the elementary curriculum, which has also been updated in recent years.
The new curriculum will also introduce students to the foundations of coding, fractions and patterns, which are essential for the disciplines of science, technology and engineering, as well as construction, skilled trades and architecture. These new lessons will build foundational math concepts and skills that will enable students to explore and solve problems in various contexts.
Play-Based Learning and Full-Day Program to Remain Unchanged
The government said that the new curriculum will not change the full-day nature of the kindergarten program, the current teacher and early childhood educator staffing model, or the play-based learning approach, which are recognized as best practices for early learning. The changes will be about making curriculum expectations more explicit and clear, and providing more guidance and support for educators.
The new curriculum is also in response to the recommendations from the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Right to Read report, which looked at how to address systemic issues that affect learning to read. The report called for more explicit, systematic, direct, province-wide expectations for instruction in foundational reading skills, which the government said it is delivering as part of its plan.
Consultation and Support for the New Curriculum
The government plans to spend the next year consulting on the new curriculum with various stakeholders, including educators, parents, students, Indigenous partners, francophone partners, experts and researchers. The government also plans to release the new curriculum in the spring of 2025, and provide professional learning and resources for educators to prepare for the implementation in September 2025.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said that the new curriculum is part of the government’s continued action to emphasize back-to-basics learning and restore the focus on academic achievement, common sense and excellence in literacy and math. He said that the government will continue to invest in targeted supports in the classroom and at home to help students build the math and reading skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workforce.