Daycares see fewer kindergarteners

NANAIMO – Full-day program added to Nanaimo schools in 2011.

While Nanaimo child care operators expressed reservations about full-day kindergarten when it was introduced in 2011, a pair of providers say it hasn’t been detrimental to their business.

The program has been offered at all elementary schools in Nanaimo school district for the past five years.

Amy Collum, executive director at Little Ferns Early Learning Centre, said that full-day kindergarten just means that the centre no longer provides half-day care for kindergarteners.

“I would say that it has had an effect on our half-day program,” Collum said. “I wondered about half-day when it first started out … but you know what? I think it’s doing what it’s supposed to do, which is really having those children ready and learning and probably ahead of the game for Grade 1.”

Collum said that at the end of the day, children are getting quality education and that is something she is in favour of.

Gail Haug, head supervisor of Malaspina Child Care, said full-day kindergarten hasn’t affected her operation much either.

“It just means that we don’t have any kindergarten children any more, so now we’re just taking a lot more three- and four-year-olds,” she said.

Jane Carroll, school district vice-principal of learning services, said it seems people are used to it.

“At first there were concerns about things like transitions, fatigue and supervision on the playground, but within a few months each year, these worries are allayed,” said Carroll in an e-mail. “The play-based curriculum is a definite strength.”

Based on preliminary numbers, Carroll said there are close to 1,000 children registered in kindergarten this year in the Nanaimo school district.

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