Kindergarten registration up a bit

  • Feb. 11, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Kindergarten registration is up in School District No. 42, but its still not enough to make up for the district’s falling enrollment.

As of Wednesday, 857 kindergarten students have signed up for the 2011/12 school year, an increase of 50 to 60 students compared to this time last year, superintendent Jan Unwin said at Wednesday’s school board meeting.

French immersion has proved especially popular, she noted. Forty-two students have registered for Eric Langton elementary’s French immersion kindergarten program, while another 15 are on the waitlist. Laity View elementary had added a third French class after 56 kids signed up for next year, and at Pitt Meadows elementary, 44 students have registered for French immersion, with 18 on the waiting list there.

Meanwhile, only 13 students have signed up for Pitt Meadows elementary’s English program.

Unwin said the district’s first priority will be to find French immersion spaces for every child, but that space may not be at the parents’ first choice of school.

There are 962 kindergarten students currently attending school in School District No. 42. Unwin expects the 2011/12 kindergarten class to number close to 1,000 by the time school starts in the September.

While kindergarten enrollment appears to be trending upwards, the incoming students fell short of making up for the more than 1,200 graduating Grade 12s who will leave the district at the end of the school year, resulting in a net loss of students.

“That trend will continue for four or five years.” Unwin said. “So even though we’re up, we’re down.”

Kanaka Creek elementary, which operates on a year-round balanced calendar, also saw strong registration numbers, with 73 students signing up for kindergarten.

The district’s new environmental school took in 20 kindergarten students, as well as 40 students in Grades 1 to 7. The program, which will offer students an outdoors hands-on curriculum, drew five students from out of district, and nine who were previously home-schooled.