Big lineup expected for Victoria coast kindergarten registration

Lots of parents are expected to show up on Monday hoping to register their children in the Greater Victoria school district’s newest nature kindergartens.

“It will be a popular program, there’s no question, and I anticipate there will be lineups,” said Sherri Bell, an associate superintendent. “There were a few people that said they were planning to camp out.”

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Parents waited overnight in freezing temperatures to snap up a spot in the Sangster Elementary School program, the capital region’s first nature kindergarten, in February 2012. The two-year pilot project for the Sooke district’s outdoor-focused class began in September 2012.

While Sangster students spend some time indoors, they have a regular outdoor schedule that includes hiking the grounds of Royal Roads University and beachcombing at Esquimalt Lagoon. The Greater Victoria district is launching a pair of nature-kindergarten classes — called “coastal” kindergartens due to their location near the ocean — at James Bay Community School and South Park Family School in September. The classes emerged in response to requests from parents.

An information session at James Bay school attracted about 80 people, Bell said.

There are places for 20 students at each school. Since South Park doesn’t have an official catchment area, Bell said, 18 children will be signed up in a first-come, first-served basis and two spots will be held until April for First Nations students.

At James Bay school, 10 spots will go to children in the school-catchment area and eight to out-of-catchment children, with two spots reserved for First Nations students.

Registration is scheduled to begin at each school at 8 a.m.

Sign-up for regular kindergarten runs Jan. 27-31.

At Sangster, a nature-kindergarten information session was held earlier this week and another is set for today at 10 a.m. Registration is Feb. 3 at the school.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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