Kids Can Fly is supporting the Friends of Major Ballachey in their campaign to improve literacy skills in their younger grades through the use of educational technology.  We are aware of the high needs of the children in this school catchment area and were instrumental in establishing the Early Learning and Parenting Centre there in 2004.  We know that 27% of children in our community do NOT graduate from high school and that a child’s literacy level at grade 3 usually is indicative of their long term success.

Major Ballachey school in Brantford has made it a priority to improve literacy in their Kindergarten and primary students.  The school was a pilot for the new Full Day Kindergarten Program and has implemented the Ministry of Education’s newest curriculum and methods.

Research has shown that the use of technology in Kindergarten and primary classrooms can lead to improvements in literacy.  Recent research on the use of  iPads showed that “students on all grade levels showed improvement in literacy areas including, making learning visible, writing compositions, digital storytelling, and, for kindergarten classes – handwriting and phonemic awareness, improvement reported in math included: the concepts underlying basic operations, logical problem solving, patterns and puzzles, spatial reasoning, and making learning visible.” On the basis of these findings Major Ballachey has made the purchasing of educational technology (iPads) for their Kindergarten and primary classes a priority.

Major Ballachey strives to meet the educational needs of a diverse range of students. Some of the families whose children attend Major Ballachey have limited resources to support their child’s education. 

The Grand Erie District School Board of Education’s compensatory schools ranking ranks schools based on family income, family education, and the number of single parent families. The rankings identified Major Ballachey School as serving some of the neediest students in the board area.

There are already many programs and supports in place to address the exceptional needs of some students. Programs such as the Daily Snack Program, the Boys & Girls Club of Brantford after-school program, the “Best Start Early Years and Parenting Centre’, the “Strong Start Early Literacy Program” and many extra supports provided to the school through GEDSB Compensatory Schools Designation help make Major Ballachey a supportive environment for students.  In spite of these many programs some students fail to develop effective early literacy skills. This causes cumulative learning problems both in later grades and into adulthood.

Improving literacy in our Kindergarten and primary students (grades 1-3) is a major focus for the school. The school was a pilot site for the new Full Day Kindergarten Program and has implemented the Ministry of Education’s newest curriculum and methods.

Recent research has shown that the use of technology in Kindergarten and primary classrooms can lead to improvements in literacy. The Maine Kindergarten Pilot showed that “students on all grade levels showed improvement in literacy areas including, making learning visible, writing compositions, digital storytelling, and, for kindergarten classes – handwriting and phonemic awareness. Improvement reported in math included: the concepts underlying basic operations, logical problem solving, patterns and puzzles, spatial reasoning, and making learning visible.” On the basis of these findings Major Ballachey has made the purchasing of educational technology (iPads) for our Kindergarten and primary classes a priority.  The school’s recent fundraising campaign was kicked off by informing students that all money raised would be used to purchase tablet technology for the school. Students responded by exceeding the school target, but we are still far short of what we need.

We plan to purchase two class sets of iPads (60). The iPads will be used in the Kindergarten and primary classes to help students build literacy skills, and will be available to improve the education of all students at Major Ballachey for the rest of the day. This program will give approximately 120 students (over half the school) daily access to the most up to date and effective methods of improving literacy skills that we are aware of.  We are focussing on the Kindergarten and primary classes to maximize the long term benefits of the program. Students who develop better literacy skills at a young age carry those skills, and the confidence gained, into higher grades. They stay in school longer, are more likely to graduate high school and to become productive members of society.

We are calling on local businesses, service groups and community members to make this dream a reality for Major Ballachey.  Donations can be made online or by mailing cheques to Kids Can Fly, 110 German School Road, R.R. #1, Paris, Ontario, N3L 3E1.  Tax receipts will be issued.

I want to help Major Ballachey purchase iPads


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