Elementary & Middle School Practicum

Elementary & Middle School Practicum

In deciding where you want to do your practicum, it is important to know what practicums can look like at different grade levels.

Elementary schools

It’s difficult to firmly state when elementary school (or any other phase of grade school) begins and ends in Canada, since every province has its own cutoff dates, often set by local school boards. In the majority of cases, however, the “elementary” years usually span from Kindergarten to around sixth or seventh grade.

Kindergarten classes are often considered little more than glorified babysitting and exist mostly to help socialize very young children into a classroom setting, with simple activities such as counting, singing, colouring, and games. Some parents will even put their kids into even simpler preschool classes when they’re still toddlers, though these are not mandatory.

As children grow older and more mature, the early numbered grades gradually educate students on basic concepts in the world of math, science, history, geography, and civics, but with a strong focus on “hands-on” learning and creative projects. In most elementary classes, all subjects are taught by a single, all-purpose teacher, with students usually progressing to a different teacher after completing a grade or two.

  • Students are building their foundational knowledge (learning to read, write, print, basic math skills)
  • Typically, from Kindergarten to Grade 3, students are learning to read
  • Grade 4 to 12, students are reading to learn.
  • You will be in more than one classroom and under the supervision of more than one teacher
  • You will be assisting the teacher(s) to support students who require extra assistance
  • One-on-one assistance or small groups in the back of the classroom, out in the hallway or in the resource room if the school has one
  • Support is based on teaching procedures and rules, emotional regulation, academic skills
  • Field trips include: swimming, hiking, sports, museums, etc. You must be capable of going on field trips with classes as needed

Middle Schools

In many provinces, middle school (or junior high) is a fairly new invention, designed to help facilitate the transition from the easygoing climate of elementary school to the more structured and demanding world of high school. Kids usually attend middle schools in their early teen years — often from around age 13 to 15 — though again, it varies a lot from province to province.

Middle school introduces the concept of different subjects being taught by different teachers, with students moving from classroom to classroom after the conclusion of each lesson. The subject matter remains mostly the same as in elementary school, but now with considerably more detail and stricter standards of grading. The focus begins to shift from creative projects and group activities to written assignments and test-driven learning.

  • Foundational skills should be in place from elementary
  • Most support will be similar to elementary schools
  • EAs might follow students to different classrooms if the student does not stay in one class

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