Multilevel classrooms are not uncommon in Manitoba schools. Generally, they are student-centered classrooms in which students learn curriculum content from two or more grade levels, often with the same teacher for two or more consecutive years. The multilevel classroom recognizes that a student’s value is not based on his or her age or stage of development, and that each student has unique qualities that enrich the classroom. The multilevel classroom celebrates and affirms each individual’s strengths and accommodates differences and diversity while fostering interdependence and shared responsibility. The Independent Together: Supporting the Multilevel Community website contains a wealth of information for parents who are interested in learning more about the multilevel classroom.
Critical thinking is about understanding connections between ideas, considering the consequences of decisions and actions, and making informed choices. To do this, the child must learn to assess the value or accuracy of information, recognize their point of view, distinguish fact from opinion, and make reasonable judgements. The general goal of critical thinking is to have a better and more complete understanding of a situation or problem and use that information to explore alternatives in order to develop solutions.
There are many ways in which you can be involved in your child’s education at school. One of the very first steps to building a strong partnership with the school is to get to know your child’s teacher and the principal by taking part in parent-student-teacher meetings. You could also attend, or help at, school events such as information sessions, parent meetings, concerts and special events. Schools often have a newsletter that gives information on events in the school. Such a newsletter will inform you on such things as school rules, programs, upcoming activities and how children are assessed. School parent councils are another way for you to become involved in the school. The school parent council works together with school staff to support students and their learning. Contact your child’s school to get more information on ways you can be involved.
Kindergarten is not compulsory in Manitoba, but it is offered free of charge in all public schools throughout the Province. Any child turning five years old by December 31 may attend Kindergarten. The majority of schools offer half day programs. For more information and to register your child, contact your local school division or the school in your area. To find a school in your neighborhood, visit Schools in Manitoba Search.
If your child is having learning difficulties, you should first contact his/her classroom teacher and talk openly about it to determine the possible changes, strategies and resources that are available to help your child. Specialized resource teachers and counsellors may also offer extra support. If additional intervention is needed, the teacher, in consultation with you, can make a referral for a specialized assessment, such as speech and language assessments. The school will share and discuss the results and recommendations with you before implementing a plan to support your child’s learning.
In Manitoba, our classrooms are inclusive with regards to children with “special needs” (the term used instead of “disability”). This means that most of these children will receive support within regular classrooms in their local school. This support may vary between specific adaptations in instruction to intensive individualized programming. In other words, your child may not automatically be pulled out of the classroom to get separate tutoring. In the inclusive system of education in Manitoba, we believe the best place for a child to learn is in the classroom with his/her friends. For more information, read Working Together: A Handbook for Parents of Children with Special Needs in School.
To help resolve differences of opinion between you and the school about the programming for your special needs child, consult Dispute Resolution: When Parents and School Divisions Disagree.
As a parent, you have the right and the responsibility to participate in the planning for the education of your child. In the case of a concern, you should first meet with the teacher. If you do not feel that the issue was resolved, you should then talk about it with the principal who can also inform you about the process for dispute resolution in the school division. Schools are required to make reasonable efforts to resolve issues collaboratively with you in order to give each child the best education possible. Two documents are available to support parents in resolving issues:
Your child is not required to speak English before enrolling in a school in Manitoba. Schools will teach and support children of all English language levels. To determine your child’s level, the school will assess him/her within the first few days or weeks. This assessment divides English language skills into three stages: stage 1 is for beginners, and stage 3 is for learners able to use English for most of their schooling with some additional support. Your child will receive the appropriate educational support based on his/her level and progress.
You can help your child develop skills in reading, writing and counting in his/her home language (ex. reading to her/him, discussing television shows, playing word or number games, etc.). Many of these skills will transfer as your child learns in English. You can also make learning English fun and give your child opportunities to:
The following is a list of helpful online materials: