The Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools board hopes to continue to expand the Kindergarten Plus+ program which offers a full day of learning for students. The former pilot program sees students spend half a day with a Kindergarten teacher and the other half with a Kindergarten instructor.
GPCSD Superintendent Jessie Shirley says that they did not expect the program to have this kind of success. She adds the program is not only beneficial to students but for parents that now don’t have to worry about getting kids to and from daycare.
“The GPCSD is a bit overwhelmed, in a positive way, with the uptake of Kindergarten Plus+. It started as a pilot program and they wanted to see if people were receptive to the idea,” she says.
“The positive feedback has been wonderful. So much so that the community at Holy Cross school and the parents asked for that program to be added to their school,” she says.
Shirley says that educators do their best to ensure students have the support they need for the transition to grade 1.
“We do a grade one readiness assessment every spring for our students. We hope the data continues to show that our kindergarten plus program students and kindergarten students, in general, are ready to make that jump,” she says.
Shirley says that making enough space for the Kindergarten Plus+ program to expand to certain schools presents a challenge.
“For instance, we want to run the program at a building like St. Kateri, but at the current moment we do not have a classroom to do that,” she says.
Holy Cross is set to become the fifth school to offer the program in the coming fall. Kindergarten Plus is available at École St-Gérard, Mother Teresa, St. Catherine, and St. Mary’s in Sexsmith.