Full-day kindergarten affects child-care businesses

Nanaimo child care operators expect a drop in enrolment in day programs but wait lists for after school programs when full-day kindergarten starts in September.

Nanaimo child care operators expect a drop in enrolment in day programs and waiting lists for after-school programs when full-day kindergarten starts in September.

All kindergarten students will be in school for the whole day this year. Last year about 60 per cent of schools in the Nanaimo district switched to a full-day program, with the remaining students in a half-day program.

Bill Billman, co-owner of Katies Korner Childcare, said enrolment in his programs for 3-5-year-olds is down, but the business has seen an influx in families wanting after-school care.

As of September, Katies Korner is losing seven kids at one 3-5 centre and five from the other, while the after-school program is already full.

“I felt that that was going to happen,” said Billman. “Last year two of the schools we serviced stayed half days. This will be the first year for us.”

Anja Wittwer, owner of Little Bloomers Family Childcare, has lost business because her family daycare licence permits four children under the age of four and three that are four and up.

This year, she has only been able to fill one of the three spots for older children.

Giving those two spots up to children needing only after-school care would mean losing the opportunity to bring in a full-time child, said Wittwer.

Melissa Burke, owner of Kidz Kompany Children’s Centre, which operates a preschool in Departure Bay and before- and after-school care programs at four elementary schools, lost several employees because  kindergarten students are no longer there most of the day, so there are fewer full-time jobs.

“The staffing is probably the hardest for me,” she said. “We’ve had to be a little more creative.”

Burke extended the preschool program to 3.5 hours a day five days a week. It was previously two hours a day for three days a week. The move keeps staff employed and helps kids prepare for being away from home all day when they start kindergarten.

“I feel that this year not a lot of the kids were prepared for the full-day [kindergarten program],” said Burke, who is also seeing increased demand for the before- and after-school programs.

“We already didn’t have enough spaces and now we have this influx of kindergarten kids,” she said. “The [parents] I’m talking to on my wait list are starting to get pretty stressed out.”

Meanwhile, Sharon Larkins, owner of Tender Beginnings Child Care, said the full-day kindergarten program makes things simpler for her – she doesn’t have to drop students off and pick them up from a half-day program any more and she’s filled all her spaces with younger children.

 

Kindergarten teachers unhappy

Some kindergarten teachers are unhappy because Nanaimo school officials will not let them share a class with another teacher.

Derek DeGear, president of the Nanaimo District Teacher’s Association, said several teachers wanted to continue working part-time and share a full-day program with another teacher.

“Some teachers chose to retire because of this,” he said.

Assistant superintendent Chris Southwick said the district wants one teacher per kindergarten class to provide as much stability as possible for students.

“We feel that with our youngest students, it makes sense to have one teacher rather than several teachers, just for continuity,” she said.

Just Posted

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman who was killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

The B.C. Ministry of Education has announced close to $44 million for the province’s schools for COVID-19 recovery. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school stakeholders say COVID-19 recovery funding can make a difference

B.C. Ministry of Education announces it expects a ‘near-normal’ return to class in September

Nanaimo artist Melissa Anderson has paintings on display at White Rabbit Coffee Co. for the next month. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo painter showcases coastal Island views in first exhibit in two years

Melissa Anderson presents ‘Seascapes’ oil painting exhibit at White Rabbit Coffee Co.

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read