Ready for School Connects (RfSC) is a school readiness model for newcomer families in downtown Toronto. The project supports preschool children and their parents in the context of their families and community to build skills that ease the transition to the Canadian school system. Through partnerships with community organizations, the project acknowledges immediate settlement issues that affect participants, such as acculturation, language, employment, housing, isolation, knowledge of and access to resources.
The transition from home to school is a big adjustment for all families. It can be even more challenging for newcomer families because of:
- Their unfamiliarity with the Canadian school system
- Settlement issues and
- Increased levels of social isolation
A highly effective school readiness program for newcomers must
- Recognize and support both the child and parent within the context of their family
- Be prepared to address newcomer/settlement issues and challenges as a part of the curriculum and school readiness environment
- Provide follow up for the child and parent
RfSC recognizes and responds to the unique challenges that newcomer children and families face with regard to school participation. Through a series of workshops, newcomer parents learn about the Canadian education system, how to get involved in their child’s education and who they can turn to for support.
Through summer school readiness programs children become comfortable in the classroom environment, develop independence skills, become familiar with the routines of school and learn how to relate with other children and adults.
Newcomer children deserve equal opportunities to achieve their full potential and increase their chances of future success in school.
Since 2002, this award winning program has benefited over 700 newcomer families across the city of Toronto. This innovative school readiness model was initiated by the Growing Up Healthy Downtown project and has grown to include many partner agencies and schools serving newcomers.