The K4 Initiative is a joint effort by Three Nations Education Group Inc., First Nations Education Initiative Inc., and the New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Since 2008, the partners have utilized funding provided by the federal government’s Education Partnerships Program to finance the K4 Transition to Kindergarten Initiative with the objective of building the capacity of First Nation K4 sites to respond
to the need for age 4 students to arrive at Kindergarten ready for school. All communities in New Brunswick that have age 4 children, along with the community of Listuguj, Quebec, participate in the capacity building initiative, and in turn serve over
160 students each year through existing K4 programs on reserve.

The K4 Initiative offers K4 educators classroom mentoring and coaching and several opportunities each school year for professional learning in early childhood development, focusing on the domains of language and communication, awareness
of self and environment, cognitive skills and gross and fine motor development. Training opportunities are provided by a number of early childhood education specialists, including the two New Brunswick women that facilitate the initiative and select national and international experts well-known for their innovation in the field.

K4 students are assessed at the beginning and end of each school year to determine their level of school readiness, and
a transition report accompanies them to Kindergarten the following year to help receiving schools prepare. Student performance, as measured by the Bracken School Readiness Assessment, is seen to improve substantially from the beginning of the school year to its end, year over year, as can be seen from the graphical representation below. The Bracken assessment measures student’s response to colors, shapes, sizes, letters and numbers, and a locally developed addition to the tool measures literacy capacity, gross and fine motor development.

The K4 Initiative also strives to enhance the physical environment through the provision of classroom technologies and resources that improve student learning experiences.  Each K4 classroom is outfitted with a SMART board for interactive classroom activities, a digital camera to assist teachers with authentic observation, and an FM amplification system to ensure students can hear properly.  K4 teachers are regularly introduced to new materials to assist in their lesson development and are supplied with a wealth of tools, such as books and classroom manipulatives, to enrich student instruction.

The K4 initiative encourages a holistic approach to child development and makes every effort to involve the parents and families of students in their learning experience.  K4 sites and schools host annual parent information sessions where take-home kits are provided for parents to extend opportunities for learning to the home and community.

Equally important, the K4 initiative is dedicated to creating partnerships with health service providers to build a network of support for students and families, especially for those students with unique needs requiring special attention.  Currently, speech pathologists, audiologists and pediatricians are working with the initiative to screen students and provide support
and advice to K4 educators.  However, work in this area is never complete, and TNEGI is seeking interested health care service providers to partner with in this crucial work.

In the 2013-14 school year, the K4 Initiative is undertaking the grand task of supporting teachers in the development
of a K4 curriculum framework.  This map of expected student outcomes and recommended strategies will contribute
to the sustainability of the program and its continued effectiveness, providing a guide for instruction throughout the year.
The curriculum framework is being built from the grass roots level by experienced K4 educators
and will be infused with cultural and community values.