Are you wondering why ECEs are out of the classroom more and more? The original understanding of the FDK program was that ECEs and K teachers would work together during the full instructional day. However, there was a recent arbitration where the Ottawa Catholic District School Board, the Ministry of Education, and the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association argued against teachers and ECEs needing to be in the class together during the instructional day, while OECTA was fighting to keep teachers and ECEs together.Unfortunately, the arbitration was lost. Board’s need to ask – what’s more important, finances or safety?
At that time, the arbitrator did not determine how much time the ECE and K teacher should be spending together during the instructional day. As a result, we are hearing more and more reports about how much time the K teachers are spending without the ECE present in the classroom. Many of these situations are unsafe. In one school, a K teacher was transporting students without the ECE present and a student had a violent outburst while the class was isolated in a stairwell. The teacher had to rely upon 4 and 5- year-olds to get emergency assistance. If this group of students was in a daycare facility, there would have been 3 adults required by law to be supervising them.
We just learned from the Director of Education that if teachers are experiencing safety concerns, they should ask their principal to contact the superintendent to request additional lunch support personnel for K classrooms.