Here is Teresa Wright’s piece in the Guardian today. Teresa, a mum herself, is doing a great job of digging into all of this topic and maybe now knows more than any of us as to what is really going on.
It looks as though more changes could be coming to Island kindergartens, according to some parents and early childhood educators.
The Early Childhood Development Association held an emergency meeting Tuesday night to discuss with early childhood educators the possibility of the province moving kindergarten into the school system.
“They said they strongly believed this was going to be announced soon,” said April Ennis, a parent and member of the ECDA who attended Tuesday’s meeting.
“They said it could be as early as the throne speech.”
They also discussed the strong possibility of the province’s age of entry date being pushed back again to Dec. 31.
Last week, the Department of Education announced the age of entry for Grade 1 had changed from Aug. 31 to Oct. 31.
This sparked confusion among kindergarten teachers who were left wondering why they had not been consulted about the change beforehand.
It left kindergartens scurrying to come up with a readiness program for the 250 children newly eligible for Grade 1 in the fall, because with only three months left in the kindergarten calendar year, these children could not be given a full kindergarten curriculum.
Anne Miller, who works with the ECDA, said her association, which represents early childhood educators in the province, is strongly opposed to kindergartens being moved into public schools.
Despite opposition, several sources told The Guardian that MLAs have indicated to them these changes could potentially be forthcoming as soon as April 4, when the legislature opens for its spring sitting.
Opposition Leader Olive Crane said the suddenness of last week’s announcement regarding the province’s age of entry for Grade 1 and the fact that cabinet was involved in the decision makes her believe there could indeed be big changes coming to the whole system.
“Operational decisions like that usually come out of the department with the minister,” she said. “For cabinet to be involved, that begs the question — maybe they are planning on moving the kindergarten system into the school system.”
And although Premier Robert Ghiz said moving kindergarten into the school system was something he said he’d be willing to explore during one of his election campaign debates, right now he said it’s not a priority.
“One of the recommendations in the last task force report was to look into that. We haven’t addressed that yet.”
But if any changes were brought about, it wouldn’t be overnight, Ghiz added.
“It would have to be a long consultation process where you would have to sit down with the early childhood educators, you’d have to sit down with the school system, you’d have to find a way to really move that in there.”