Beaverlodge families will benefit from an expanded Junior Kindergarten (Jr. K.) program at Beaverlodge Elementary School (BES) this September. Registration will open on Friday, February 23, with a drop-in event at 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. During the event, families will meet the instructional team and tour the classroom and school. After February 23, registration will be ongoing during school hours.
Included in the expanded program is a dedicated class for all three-year-old children. In the past, the school accepted only those requiring additional supports. To qualify, children must be potty-trained and turning three by December 31, 2018. Programming for four-year-olds will increase to three days per week, offering even greater learning opportunities.
Now in its third year and serving an average annual enrolment of 30 students, the Jr. K. program at BES is taught by a trained play school instructor, under the supervision of one of two certified Kindergarten teachers at the school. The school initially took over the program at the request of the Beaverlodge Playschool Society.
"Junior Kindergarten has been a wonderful addition to our school," says Stacey Rey, Inclusive Education Coordinator, Kindergarten teacher and Jr. K. program supervisor. "Through play-based learning, students develop their fine motor skills and are introduced to the alphabet and numbers. They also learn school routines, how to work and play in groups, and they develop a strong friend base with classmates who support each other through high school and beyond."
Kindergarten teacher Tara Alde says the Jr. K. program gives students an advantage. "When our Jr. K. students begin Kindergarten, their familiarity with our school and routines helps reduce anxiety for both them and their parents. They come ready to learn."
Principal Paul Cincurak praises his 40-member staff for their commitment to the academic growth and social-emotional well-being of the school's 350 Jr. K - Grade 6 students. "We offer comprehensive programs to support student success, including English as a Second Language, literacy intervention, Empower Reading™, math tutoring, fine arts and a healthy schools program. A student-centred Collaborative Response Model brings our teachers, administration, counselors and learning coaches together in monthly meetings to closely monitor and adjust supports and instruction to suit students' individual needs."
"Our students benefit from strong inclusive education and counseling programs, supported by FCSS, Peace Collaborative Services and Alberta Mental Health. Social-emotional well-being is also the focus of programs such as EUREKA, DARE, Who do you Tell?, Healthy Schools, Circle of Life, Card Club, AMA School Safety Patrol, Classroom Champions, Grade 6 Leadership and Student Mentorship."
The school's comprehensive Grades 1-6 fine arts program covers 2D and 3D art, photography, choral music, dance, theatre and instruments. A dedicated fine arts wing, opening in the fall of 2018, will consolidate music and art in a central area of the school. The school is well equipped with technology, including Chromebooks, iPads and sound field systems in all classrooms.
"Our students come to us with their needs, hopes and dreams," adds Mr. Cincurak. "Each child is wonderfully unique, and BES is a caring, adaptive, responsible school. My staff and I look forward to welcoming new families to our school community on February 23 and beyond."
Photo: Beaverlodge Elementary Junior Kindergarten students (pictured left-right) Chelsea, Nicole, Averi and Nathan work on cut-outs for their Bumble projects with Mrs. Martin, Educational Assistant.