New Glasgow, N.S.
Children who enrolled in pre-primary classes a year ago have transitioned well to primary this year, says an official with the Chignecto-Central Regional Centre for Education.
Kim MacKinnon, assistant manager of pre-primary programs, has received positive feedback from primary teachers of students who were formerly in the pre-primary program.
One teacher, in particular, told a pre-primary instructor that she saw a real difference in the confidence level of children who had taken part in the pre-primary program.
“That is the role we want – to instill confidence in the children that attend pre-primary,” said MacKinnon, who was an early childhood educator at the pre-primary program at New Glasgow Academy last year.
For students who have taken part in the pre-primary program, when they enter primary, they're already familiar with the environment and instead of going through an extended adjustment period, they are ready to learn as soon as they walk through the door, she said.
This year the pre-primary program has been expanded to include more sites in Pictou County. There are two classes being offered at New Glasgow Academy, two at Thorburn (one of those was switched from Frank H. MacDonald Elementary due to renovations that were required), one in Trenton and one in Westville. All are located within the community’s elementary schools. There are currently about 81 students enrolled in the program, but children who are four years old on or before Dec. 31 of the year they enroll are able to join at any time throughout the year. Across the Chignecto-Central Regional Centre for Education there are 344 children enrolled.
“Ongoing registration is always open,” MacKinnon said. “They’re already coming in on a continual basis.”
MacKinnon believes it’s important to note that although pre-primary is located within the school environment and allows children to prepare for their later education, the program is 100 per cent play based and developmentally appropriate for the kids she said.
“We know that play is the best way that children learn,” she said.
Often kids learn while they’re doing activities.
"If we’re playing with playdough, you can guarantee that we made the playdough together.”
Student/teacher ratios are never more than 10-1 and each classroom has at least two pre-primary instructors, even if they have less than 10.