Full-day kindergarten is coming

Ashley
Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Province provides update on introduction, notes need for added space at some schools

Education minister Darin King, along with senior representatives for the school districts and teachers in the province, say they expect to face challenges as they introduce full-day Kindergarten in Newfoundland and Labrador, but are on track to begin in September 2016.

Darin King. — Telegram file photo

King said about 140 teachers need to be hired and readied for the required program.

More significantly, administrators are now deep into evaluating available space and determining what will be needed.

Of about 190 schools in the province, 163 may undergo some internal renovations to accommodate the full-day Kindergarten plans. At present, six schools are confirmed to need modular classrooms or an extension, to provide the required space. And site visits are still being completed for some other schools, with plans yet to be finalized at 21 locations.

A complete list of schools and where they stand has been published online by the provincial Department of Education.

“Not all of these facilities will be ready for 2016,” King said, of having the slated construction work completed.

In response to the ever-approaching start date, schools are planning for what King said were temporary team-teaching situations, with more than one teacher in a classroom to allow for class sizes beyond the government’s set cap.

He committed to having no more than 28 students in a classroom and no more than 14 students per teacher.

Even given space considerations, he said, the province has opted not to hold back the launch on the program and wait on construction.

“Our government has made the decision we’re not prepared to do that,” he said, later explaining schools are never in a static state when it comes to numbers, demands on space and construction asks.

Waiting on planned construction, King said, could mean never seeing full-day Kindergarten introduced, or seeing a case wherein children and parents in one part of the province have the option but those in another part of the province do not, due to space restrictions.

During his address, at the District School on Strawberry Marsh Road, King and the senior school and teacher representatives, spoke to the cameras, but also to the few dozen teachers and early childhood educators in attendance.

The teachers and educators were on hand for “Play the Kindergarten Way,” a two-day workshop on early literacy and “play-based learning.”

Read the response from the teachers in tomorrow’s print and digital editions.

 

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Department of Education, District School

Geographic location: Strawberry Marsh Road

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  • Educated person
    August 27, 2014 - 20:36

    I think the full day kindergarten is great but this government is going ahead blind and is trying to get it done before the next election. The trouble I have with this is that Darin King is involved and his track record is not good. He has screwed up so many files now that it is hard to keep count. I would be cautious of anything he has his hands in and watch out for the fine print. King is not the right person to be dealing with anyone's education and he is not smart enough to be talking kindergarten at all.We have a mess in this province that was created by this King and his attitude is exactly what we do not want or need. Hopefully soon Darin King will be history and we can all breath a sigh of relief. Enough of the screw ups by King.

  • Samuel J.
    August 27, 2014 - 14:38

    Expect a lot more of these empty promises as they get ready to take their duties next Fall as an opposition party (assuming they manage to re-elect a few candidates). By scheduling full day kindergarten to start a year after they leave office, the Tories are hoping to make it difficult for the incoming Liberals. When the Liberal government is forced to cut-back or cancel programs to get the Tory deficit under control, the Tories will be right there to tell the public 'we brought in these programs and the bad old Liberals cancelled them- see what you get for electing Liberals'. Yes, easy to make promises when someone else has to deliver on them.

  • Suzanne
    August 27, 2014 - 12:54

    Why you think it's a terrible decision? The other Atlantic provinces have full-day kindergarten with no problems. New Brunswick, in fact, has never had anything but full-day kindergarten. P.E.I. & N.S. phased theirs in over the years.

  • Taylor
    August 27, 2014 - 10:52

    Terrible decision Newfoundland :( So glad that my children will be finished Kindergarten and not attending a full-day facility.

    • Suzanne
      August 27, 2014 - 12:49

      Why you think it's a terrible decision? The other Atlantic provinces have full-day kindergarten with no problems. New Brunswick, in fact, has never had anything but full-day kindergarten. P.E.I. & N.S. phased theirs in over the years.