Davie Jones elementary principal Stuart Richardson has never seen anything like it, nor has Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District superintendent Jan Unwin.
In a quirk of demographics, 32 of the 40 of the new kindergarten students who have registered at the Pitt Meadows school for the 2012/13 school year are boys, out-numbering the girls four-to-one.
“It’s really quite bizarre,” said Richardson. “In all my years teaching, I haven’t seen anything like it.”
As a result of the over abundance of male students, the school is considering creating an all-male kindergarten class. Those picked for the class will likely remain together all the way through elementary school.
Sixteen boys will be placed in an all-male kindergarten class, while the eight girls and nine boys will be put into a co-ed kindergarten class. The remaining kindergarten boys will be part of a kindergarten/Grade 1 split class.
“Having that many boys presents some issues,” said Richardson. “The first was whether or not it would be better to split up the girls between two classes.”
Largely on the initiative of the kindergarten teachers at the school, the idea came about to create an all-male class, and give them a play-based curriculum tailored for boys.
“We don’t want to gender stereotype … but we know that boys and girls learn differently, especially at that age,” said Richardson.
Young boys are largely active learners, and love to be on their feet and doing things with their hands.
“But girls are more comfortable sitting and listening at that age as they learn,” Richardson said.
While Richardson admits the idea for a single-gender class is a bit of an experiment, so too would be a class with just four girls.
“We could have split the girls up in between two classes, but we thought it would be better for them to keep them together,” he said.
The plan has not yet been finalized, and the school is still in the process of consulting with parents.
“We haven’t had a chance to talk to all of the parents yet, but so far no one has requested their son not be put in that class,” said Richardson.
However, the phenomenon isn’t just isolated to Davie Jones elementary. Glenwood elementary in Maple Ridge has also seen a large majority of boys register for kindergarten.
“It’s really odd,” said Unwin. “But we saw it as an opportunity.”
She said the district will be closely monitoring the progress of the class.
“It’s a research project,” she said. “The only reason we are doing this is because of the demographics … but we’re hoping this might be something we can learn from.”