After working in Israel and South America for four years in the field of education and development, I began my studies as an M.A. Candidate at the Jackman Institute of Child Study at OISE/UT in September 2010.
With an interest in early learning and children's photographs, my decision to study at OISE was inspired by Dr. Janette Pelletier whose work informs the Full-Day Early Learning-Kindergarten Program. Working with The Globe and Mail on the Kindergarten Diaries project presented the perfect opportunity to combine these interests with the components of my program: placements in the TDSB and academic courses.
Throughout the year, I used photography and drawings to gauge each child's experience of kindergarten. By conducting finger puppet interviews, I learned what aspects of kindergarten they enjoyed the most. In these interviews, they also demonstrated their development of language skills. Sentences became longer, vocabulary increased, and the responses became more elaborate.
The outcome of using these measures was extremely positive. The kids and their parents loved it. As a whole, the project tells a story of full-day kindergarten from the child's eye view and informs myself and other stakeholders about what is important to children and their families.
As a recent SSHRC award recipient, I plan on carrying out research on the implications of full-day kindergarten from the students' perspective. The outcome of the Kindergarten Diaries project will greatly influence how I approach my research during the 2011-2012 year.