May 19, 2024

Excellence in Early Learning Program Options at FMPSD

By on April 28, 2021 0 372 Views


When quality meets options, the result is a top pick. And, that is exactly what a Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD) education happens to be. We are your top pick, and the same is true of our early learning programs. Home to the Early Childhood Development Program (ECDP) and Kindergarten, our early learning programs feature choices like: Traditional, Reggio-Inspired, French Immersion, and faith-based Christian, and Islamic programming aligned with the Alberta Education curriculum. Rhonda Blanchette, Supervisor of Inclusive Education, FMPSD noted the multifaceted care our youngest students receive is second to none.

“We know having your child enter school is an emotional milestone filled with excitement and anticipation. Children in early learning programs are actively supported and encouraged every step of the way. The teachers, support staff, and consultants strive to meet the cognitive, language, social, emotional, and physical needs of children by providing carefully planned and developmentally appropriate programs in safe, respectful, and caring school environments.” All of our 12 elementary schools offer traditional early learning programs. The abovementioned faith-based programming is available at Fort McMurray Christian School and Fort McMurray Islamic School, French Immersion at École Dickinsfield School, and Reggio-Inspired programs at both Walter and Gladys Hill Public School and Christina Gordon Public School. Bobbi Compton, Principal, Christian School explained what makes their early learning initiatives stand out.

“Our young students learn about themselves, their families, friends, community, animals, and God’s love in our world in ECDP and Kindergarten. They learn through play, expanding their vocabulary, language skills, fine motor and gross motor skills, community-building skills, and following routines. At Fort McMurray Christian school, each day starts with a Bible story and prayer. Bible stories are used as themes for learning and Bible characters are used to teach children about their emotions and feelings. Children participate with their schoolmates in whole school worship on Together Tuesdays (to name a few things).”

Home to Kindergarten, the Islamic School offers “academic, social and emotional development,” as noted by Principal Mehar Rashid.

“We provide a high-quality early childhood education program and also build a strong foundation for Islamic subjects like the Quran and Islamic Studies. We teach Arabic as a second language and Islamic subjects to our Kindergarten students every day. To nurture kids’ curiosity and motivation to learn, our teachers use children’s interests and ideas and engage in many hands-on activities.” French Immersion in early learning programs provides exposure to the French language, while providing the essential learning blocks of the language through gestures and play. Children begin to understand basic vocabulary and it gives them the tools to speak the language in a safe environment.

“Early exposure supports the children in becoming fluent in a shorter amount of time than those that try to learn a second language at an older age. The opportunity to experience immersion in early learning sparks an initial interest and curiosity in language learning for the students. The play-based environment of our French Immersion early learning programs allows children to develop language skills and strategies in a meaningful and enjoyable way,” shared Erin Keca, Principal, École Dickinsfield School.

The Reggio-Inspired Early Childhood Education Program at Christina Gordon isn’t just a “preschool; it’s a child’s home away from home in its large, natural and welcoming classroom. The program is student-led and play-based, as play is how children learn about themselves, other people, and the world around them. Play helps to build confidence, relationships, and basic skills,” commented Rick Thorne, Principal. So, pick a program of choice. And, join the FMPSD Family today. From early learning to graduation we are proud to be “Doing What’s Best for Kids.”

For more information on any of our 16 schools, visit For real-time updates: follow us on Twitter: @FMPSD and like us on Facebook: Fort McMurray Public School Division. We are also on Instagram @FMPSD.


Photos, top to bottom: Reggio-Inspired programming at Walter and Gladys Hill, even the class set-up looks different. Islamic School starts off their youngest learners early with religious education. French Immersion helps children begin to understand basic vocabulary and it gives them the tools to speak the language in a safe environment. Photos supplied


About the author

Freelance Journalist

Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.