Two local schools chosen for full-day JK

Peggy Revell

The province has announced St. Michael’s School and Robert Moore School here will be the next locations in the district where full-day junior kindergarten programs will roll out.
These schools will offer the program starting in the fall of 2011, following the inaugural roll-out that will see the program start at St. Patrick’s School and North Star School in Atikokan for the 2010-11 school year.
“We’re thrilled to be able to have the kids full-time every day,” Mary-Catherine Kelly, director of education for the Northwest Catholic District School Board, said about the move towards full-day junior kindergarten programs.
She noted the local Catholic board has a history of providing full-day kindergarten programs in the north.
“We’re thrilled, most of all, that it’s going to be a wonderful academic experience for children,” Kelly added.
“We feel that we have a chance to really develop the whole child, and having them every day we will see them progress socially, emotionally, intellectually, and, from a Catholic School perspective, spiritually,” she remarked.
Meanwhile, the new Robert Moore School was designed with the early-learning program in mind, noted Heather Campbell, director of education for the Rainy River District School Board.
This includes two additional classrooms for full-day, every day junior and senior kindergarten programs, as well as the new technology that will be installed.
“The Pascal Report speaks to the importance of before- and after-school programming for our earliest learners,” Campbell said, referring to the report written by Charles Pascal’s that recommended how the province implement full-day junior kindergarten across Ontario.
“Giving them a great head start in their schooling, and providing early intervention, if necessary, it will certainly help youngsters to improve their reading, writing, and math skills and create a smoother transition to Grade 1,” she reasoned.
The full-day program will have both teachers and Early Childhood Educators in the classroom.
As part of this full-day plan, the province also will be implementing programming so parents can enrol their JK-aged child for extended hours before and after regular school hours within the same school facilities—for a fee.
The province expects full implementation of the full-day program by 2015.