Full-day Kindergarten coming this fall

  • Jan. 29, 2010 2:00 p.m.

Every school on the islands will offer full-day kindergarten this fall, school district superintendent Angus Wilson has announced. Mr. Wilson told a school board meeting at Tahayghen elementary January 26 that the provincial government has awarded this district 100 percent of its kindergarten spots as full-time starting in September. The same thing happened in most rural districts, he said, but some urban schools will have to wait until next year to offer full-day K. By September 2011, every school in the province will be running kindergarten as a full-day program. The move will mostly affect A.L. Mathers and Port Clements elementary schools on the islands, he said, as Sk’aadgaa Naay and Tahayghen already offer full-day K. It will mean extra funding for the district. Trustee Elizabeth Condrotte said she had heard some concern from parents in Port about the move, and suggested the district delay its decision. The concern stems from the fact that kindergarten classes in both Port and Sandspit are combined with up to three other grades, she said. “I personally do not have an ax to grind either way but I do have a responsibility to my constituents,” she said. Mr. Wilson responded that the full-day K is a government-mandated program and there’s no decision to be made. Multi-grade classes are a reality of small schools, he said, and delaying the start of full-day kindergarten will not change that, unless there is an unexpected population surge in Port and Sandspit over the next year. “There will not be half-day kindergarten, or anything like it, in the future,” he said. Trustee Christine Martynuik said Sk’aadgaa Naay elementary offers a split full-day kindergarten-grade 1 class with no problem. No one has to send their children to kindergarten, she added. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the children who do want it,” she said.