Sangster Elementary crossing guard and education assistant Sandra Bowes (right) helps kids and parents cross the street. It is one of two schools in SD62 offering nature kindergarten. (Kendra Wong/News Staff)

Lottery system coming to SD62 for French immersion, nature kindergarten registration

New system to make registration process more equitable

Kindergarten registration is fast-approaching for the Sooke School District and those interested in French immersion and nature kindergarten programs may find things are a little different this year.

The Sooke School District has implemented a new lottery system to help combat the high demand for the programs.

“We want to make sure there’s an equitable way for families to be able to access those programs,” said District Superintendent Scott Stinson, who noted the system was implemented after extensive study.

In the past, the two kindergarten programs have seen more registration than District schools can accommodate.

Lindsay Vogan, spokesperson for SD62 said that registration for both programs filled up very quickly in the past.

READ MORE: Lottery losses have B.C. parents hoping for French teachers from Europe

“If you were online and you hadn’t registered by 8:15 (a.m.), you probably weren’t getting in especially for nature (kindergarten),” Vogan said. “Nature (kindergarten) started as a physical lineup when we had people camping in January.”

Stinson said the District is trying to avoid people having to line up to register their children in programs.

“If a program is oversubscribed, this gives equal access to anyone that registers at any point during our registration time,” Stinson said.

Both programs are very popular for different reasons, according to Stinson.

Parents have gravitated towards nature kindergarten because it reconnects their children to nature and moves away from traditional, classroom-oriented programs, Stinson said. Currently, the program runs at two elementary schools in the District — Sangster Elementary School and Saseenos Elementary School.

French immersion is an appealing option because the bilingual nature of Canada, Stinson said. Those that aren’t enrolled in French immersion kindergarten can enrol in the late entry program later on, however.

The lottery system will follow student enrolment priorities set out by SD62. Students that are being re-enrolled or that have a catchment area sibling already at the school are given the highest priority. Non-catchment and non-school district children are at the bottom of the list.

READ MORE: VIDEO: First-class experience: starting kindergarten

Each priority level is given a certain number of seats in the program. If there are too many registrants in one priority level, a lottery will be held to decide who gets to register.

This year, the District will monitor how the new system goes over and make changes if necessary, Stinson said.

“Many out of district families want to register in our School District,” Stinson said. “That becomes problematic for us because we obviously want to have space for the family that moves in across the street…our hope is that (the lottery system) gives everyone equal footing.”

Stinson said the District is continuing to work with the Ministry of Education to address the issue of over-capacity in schools and programs. He said right now, the District is limited by the space and by the number of people that can teach in programs like French immersion.

“As we add more schools in the District, the potential of another immersion school opening up is certainly there,” Stinson said. “Right now, we don’t have the physical capacity to be able to do that.”

Information about kindergarten registration with SD62 can be found here.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Vancouver Island company changing women’s lives worldwide

Blushing Bluebird Essentials providing reusable, organic, made-on-the-Island menstrual products

Do you know how to cross an intersection? Are you sure?

Provincial signs detail when people can and can’t enter an intersection on foot

Editorial: Federal byelection, if it happens, is no reason for voter fatigue

If indeed a byelection is called to choose a Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP, we might as well embrace it

Vancouver Island invited to get a closer look at Sunday’s Blood Moon

Special event allows public to view the lunar eclipse through UVic telescopes

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Wind, tides could combine for 7-metre Long Beach waves Saturday

Extreme wave hazard warning at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Most Read