What We Do:
Starting in January 2022, eligible families will receive invitations for the entry to school program, which will help prepare children who are starting kindergarten or Grade 1 for the first time. The entry to school program includes two main parts. The first part is a six-month, group-based, skill-building program, focused on helping children develop school-readiness skills in six areas:
- Communication – such as, conversation, expressing wants and needs, understanding words and language, social communication, and non-verbal communication
- Play – such as, toy exploration, and engaging in group play/games
- Social interaction – such as, understanding of social boundaries, interactions with peers, and learning new behaviours by observing/imitating peers
- Functional routines – such as, following classroom routines, and self-help skills such as dressing and toilet training
- Behavioural self-management – such as, emotional regulation and being able to wait their turn
- Pre-academics, learning and attention – such as, developing new learning skills, working within a group setting, and independent work
The group-based program is multi-disciplinary and delivered by staff with expertise in:
- autism spectrum disorder
- applied behaviour analysis
- speech-language pathology
- occupational therapy
- early childhood development
The group-based part of the program is intended to be delivered in person, in a classroom-type setting. Online/virtual delivery options may be considered if required due to the COVID-19 pandemic or to address local needs and/or family preference.
After completing the group-based part of the program, children will start the second part of the program, which provides them with individual transition supports as they enter school. Families and educators will also be able to access consultation services from entry to school program staff, as needed, during a child’s first six months in school. The program is offered free of charge.
To participate in the Entry to School Program, your child must be:
- registered in the Ontario Autism Program
- between three to six years old as of December 31 in the year they are starting school
- starting kindergarten or Grade 1 for the first time
If your child is eligible, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services we will send an invitation.
Some children are not eligible for the entry to school program, including children:
- who are receiving core clinical services
- with an active behaviour plan
- who have already started attending school
- who start participating in a caregiver-mediated early years program in April or later in the year that they will start school
Children who are in the entry to school program can receive other Ontario Autism Program supports (other than OAP core clinical services), special needs supports and/or early intervention programs at the same time. For example, your child can receive foundational family services at the same time as the entry to school program.