If you’re trying to get your child in the nature or French immersion kindergarten programs this fall, you might want to find a four-leaf clover.
Due to high demand, the Sooke School District will use a lottery system to determine who gets in, but only if registration surpasses its limit.
While French immersion encourages bilingualism for youngsters, the nature program lets students spend every morning outside – rain or shine.
Those signed up with Sangster Elementary School in Colwood will be primarily on Royal Roads University’s property, while those at Saseenos Elementary School in Sooke will be on T’souke Nation land. Kids will return to school for lunch and then to the classroom for the rest of the afternoon for indoor learning.
The top priority will go to students re-enrolling and those with siblings, while the least priority goes to those outside the school district. To qualify, children must turn five years old by Dec. 31 in the same calendar year as they begin school.
This year, the school district will be removing its previous criteria that set a requirement to fill their nature kindergarten with 10 boys and 10 girls per class. Superintendent Scott Stinson said it’s part of a move to be gender inclusive. The district is also setting a minimum of two children with Indigenous ancestry.
A total of 280 children registered for kindergarten last year, a new record for the school district. The school district is growing from 300 to 400 students every year.
“We’ve used up every corner of space we have,” Stinson said. “We’re growing at a rate where we expect 4,000 more students in the next decade, so we’ve been purchasing land over the past two years.”
Pexisisen Elementary, a 500-seat school in West Langford, is set to open by September 2022. Other potential elementary schools are planned for Sooke, South Langford and Royal Bay.
French and nature kindergarten registration began on Monday at www.sd62.bc.ca/schools/registration. For those interested in regular kindergarten, registration starts at 8 a.m. on Jan. 25.
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