Early childhood guru Dr. Fraser Mustard, who died in 2011, is expected to be honoured by the Toronto school board with an all-kindergarten school in his name.
A committee has recommended “Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy,” which will go forward for trustee approval after the Toronto District School Board resolves some outstanding issues regarding the school with the Ministry of Education, say board sources.
“That would be an outstanding gesture,” said Charles Pascal, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education who advised the province on full-day kindergarten.
“The largest kindergarten programming in North America deserves a big name, and no one in early childhood is bigger.”
Mustard, who grew up in Toronto, spent years advising leaders around the world about the importance of the childhood years on brain development and health and well-being later in life.
“I hope the school will endeavour to always be stretching and finding new ways to include Mustard’s thinking, teachings and approach in all that they do,” said Toronto City Councillor Paula Fletcher, who teamed up with Mustard to help save Bruce Junior Public School from closing more than a decade ago. Bruce served as a model for Ontario’s full-day program.
The new all-kindergarten school, which area trustee Gerri Gershon hopes will open this fall, is still under construction. The opening was already delayed from September 2012 to September 2013 after parking issues forced a redesign.
“Fraser Mustard is so well regarded in the education community,” said Gershon, who served on the naming committee.
The school is located on the same site as Thorncliffe Park Public School, near Don Mills Rd. and the Don Valley Pky., and home to a burgeoning immigrant population.
Thorncliffe Park elementary simply has no space to accommodate the 28 classrooms it needs for full-day kindergarten.
The new school is expected to serve some 700 four- and five-year-olds.
By Kristin Rushowy
Source: Toronto Star – http://goo.gl/zSO8M