Parents interested in having their child attend the Nature Kindergarten program at Scout Island Nature Centre next September will have to attend a mandatory information session in early January.
Nature Kindergarten is a School District 27 program of choice and will integrate the provincial full-day Kindergarten program into learning activities that will take place outdoors and in the classroom in Scout Island Nature Centre.
“Parents must attend the information session before registration because they need to understand how the program works and make sure it is a good fit for their child,” says Joan Lozier, SD 27 early years co-ordinator.
She says children who are adaptable, flexible, enthusiastic, able to follow directions well, co-operative, have no problem getting dirty and love to be outdoors in all kinds of weather will be best suited for this rigorous program.
The first information session will be offered on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 at Scout Island Nature Centre starting at 6:30 p.m.
A second information session will be offered Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 at Little Moccasins Learning Centre starting at 6:30 p.m.
Both sessions will cover the same information, Lozier says. A family member must be present to receive an application form. Application forms will only be available at the parent information sessions.
Any child who resides within SD 27 boundaries and whose fifth birthday falls between January 1 and December 31, 2016 can participate in the program, if space is available.
Since the Nature Kindergarten is affiliated with Marie Sharpe Elementary, families outside the Marie Sharpe catchment area will need to complete a School of Choice application.
The student must first be registered at the school in own catchment area, beginning January, 18, 2016. After that a school of choice application is made for the student to attend Marie Sharpe.
March 15, 2016 is the deadline for school of choice applications which are date and time-stamped for first come, first serve consideration. A wait list will also be established, but Lozier said any vacancies will not normally be filled after Sept. 16, 2016.
Only completed application forms will be considered. The process for completing application forms will be reviewed at the parent information sessions.
Lozier says parents of accepted students will be notified no later than March 31, 2016 and families will be asked to confirm their child’s Nature Kindergarten placement by April 15, 2016.
Lozier says full information on the Nature Kindergarten application process is available on the School District 27 website.
She says parents also share a greater responsibility for their child being in the Nature Kindergarten program in that they are required to sign a liability form and must make sure their child is at Marie Sharpe on time to make the bus transfer to Scout Island.
If the child needs to be taken out of school for a doctor’s or other appointment, she says it is the responsibility of the parent to find the child wherever the group may be at the nature centre.
SD 27 is offering the Nature Kindergarten in recognition of the growing body of evidence regarding the developmental significance of contact with nature and its positive impact on children’s physical and mental well-being.
Regardless of the locale, all students participate in carefully planned activities that support their intellectual, emotional, social, artistic, aesthetic and physical development, just as in the regular Kindergarten programs.
Children are involved in thoughtfully planned and presented learning experiences which promote: discovery, play, exploration, environmental stewardship and Aboriginal ways of learning and knowing.