Preschool

What Will My Child Learn at School?

Niitsitapi Learning Centre focuses on early learning for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students in Preschool to Grade 2. Our half-day preschool program offers a morning and afternoon program for children aged approximately 33-54 months old.  Transportation and availability for morning and afternoon time slots are determined based on child’s address.  Attending Niitsitapi Learning Centre supports Indigenous identity with culturally responsive programming that considers a holistic approach to learning, that is strength-based, and offers learning through a play-based learning environment. 

At Niitsitapi Learning Centre, our students will build a strong academic foundation in a learning environment that reflects and nurtures their Spirit, Heart, Body and Mind while honoring the diversity of Indigenous cultures, languages, ways of knowing, being and doing. 

Our children will learn through an Indigenous lens, where we focus on connecting to spirit, story-telling, land-based learning and exploring our outside gardens whenever possible. 

We also invite Elders and Knowledge Keepers where they spend time with the children and teach everyone stories. For example, our children will learn about patterns in nature, stories from the land, drumming, traditional dance and medicines. Our outdoor spaces including our raised medicine garden and eagle garden provide opportunities for experiential learning and connection to the land.   

Our teachers work together with Elders and Knowledge Keepers to ensure children have a culturally rich experience while at Niitsitapi. Every morning your child will have the opportunity to smudge, greet the day listening to our Blackfoot morning song and be in a place that honours and understands cultural traditions and histories. 

We cannot wait to have you here!  

Your child will learn and grow a great deal throughout the preschool year. Most importantly, your child will develop skills and abilities through fun and engaging play activities that have been planned by your child’s school learning team.
Children will have opportunities to engage in tasks that promote a variety of skills such as how to:

  • Cooperate, share and take turns
  • Explore new materials and ideas
  • Express themselves in a variety of ways through art, building, movement, singing and speaking
  • Listen to stories and directions
  • Enjoy books and stories
  • Develop their oral language skills
  • Take care of themselves and their belongings
  • Take care of others and the environment

What does a typical day look like in Preschool at Niitsitapi Learning Centre?

Below is a tentative schedule for what a typical day in Preschool at the Niitsitapi Learning Centre may look like:

  • Arrival, Greetings, Healthy Breakfast or Lunch
  • Free Play
  • Smudge
  • Physical Education
  • Talking Circle (Welcome Song & Literacy Activities)
  • Centre Play
  • Outside Learning Time
  • Healthy Snack
  • Story Time/Free Play
  • Sharing Circle/Farewell Song
  • Get Ready for Home

Who Will be Working with My Child?

In a Preschool classroom your child will be supported by multiple adults. Each classroom has two Early Childhood Practitioners as well as a Learning Leader (Lead Teacher) who oversees both Preschool classes. All children will benefit from previously established universal strategies and supports provided from our multidisciplinary team of professionals and early learning strategists. Families are welcome to inquire about individual supports and services with the classroom teacher.  At the Niitsitapi Learning Centre, your child will have the opportunity to spend time and receive teachings from community Elders and Indigenous Strategists.  

What are the Preschool Hours?

Niitsitapi Learning Centre Preschool learners have a staggered entry from the rest of the students in Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2, meaning they will start later in the year. We follow a modified school calendar, please reference the school calendar for Preschool start date.  

Preschool children attend school Monday to Thursday at the following times (start/end times may change slightly) with a total of 400 hours in the school year: 

AM Start Time - 8:25 AM  
AM End Time - 11:15 AM 
PM Start Time - 12:15 PM 
PM End Time - 3:05 PM 
No School on Fridays 

What Should I Do If My Child Will be Away or Late?

If your child will be late or away from school for any reason, please call the school at: 403-817-3404 to report the late or absence. If your child is late for school, please check in at the Main Office before going to the classroom. If you arrive early to pick your child up for an appointment, please go to the Main Office to sign him/her out for the day.

What Does My Child Need To Bring To School?

Please be sure to send your to child to school with:

  • A backpack large enough to hold an agenda, notices and a snack bag (optional)
  • A healthy snack (please send drinks in water bottle containers) (optional)
  • Indoor running shoes with velcro fasteners (shoes will be left at school)
  • A change of clothing (pants, shirt, socks and underwear)
  • A package of “Pull Ups” and wipes if your child is not toilet trained
  • Clothing that is appropriate for the weather (children will often go outside)

Note: All clothing, backpacks, shoes and snack containers should be labelled with your child’s name.

Is Food Provided?

A healthy breakfast for morning class and lunch for afternoon class will be provided for students if needed that day, as well there are snacks available. 

Do I Need to Purchase Supplies?

No, we cover the cost of all resources/supplies used in the classroom (e.g. scissors, glue, crayons, paint, paper, etc.).

How Can I Support My Child’s Learning?

We believe that a child’s first and most important teachers are family members and/or guardians and we value any opportunity to work as partners with you in your child’s education. There are a variety of ways for you to be involved with our program in support of your child’s progress. 

Niitsitapi Learning Centre Preschool has a classroom blog where photographs and descriptions of learning and play are shared. The blog allows you to catch a glimpse of the programming that takes place monthly, and can be accessed through our Staff Blogs page.

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