The Nature Kindergarten program was a pilot program that started in September 2012. It is now a District program that will be offered at two locations beginning September 2017. The program will be offered at Sangster Elementary School and Saseenos Elementary School.
The Sooke School District seeks to be innovative in providing learning opportunities for our children. Research suggests that providing children with an opportunity to spend consistent daily time outdoors in a natural setting will develop their physical and mental health and foster deep connections with nature, and strong ties to their surrounding communities.
This program also fits well with current District goals of enhancing our programming to improve social and emotional learning; to engage in differentiated instruction and assessment; and to focus on Aboriginal Ways of Knowing with input from our local Aboriginal organizations and the School District’s Aboriginal Education Department.
Students spend up to 2.5 hours outside every morning in natural settings. Children return to school for their lunch and for indoor learning in the afternoon.
Step 1: Attend an information session
To ensure the greatest success for the children in the program parents must attend an information session if they are interested in registering their child in this program. These sessions will allow parents to develop a better understanding of the Nature Kindergarten program, and what it will mean for their child and family. Nature Kindergarten Parent Information Sessions are offered in January.
Please visit the SD62 website to find the dates for this year’s information sessions and registration dates.
Step 2: Register online or at your catchment school
Parents can register online or in-person. Parents who register online will indicate their preference for Nature Kindergarten at that time. Parents who register in-person must do so at their local neighbourhood school and submit a request to register for Nature Kindergarten.
As space for your child is not guaranteed in this program, registration is taken on a first-come, first-served basis (according to gender). Parents are highly encouraged to register as close as registration opening as possible. You will be prompted to indicate which Nature Kindergarten program you would like your child to attend.
Use the School Locator tool to find your neighbourhood school.
- All forms must be complete – Application forms must be initialed and signed by a parent to be considered complete. Only completed application forms will be considered. The process for completing application forms will be reviewed at the parent information sessions.
- Places will be allocated in an attempt to create a gender balance.
- Two places, non-gender specific, will be held for Aboriginal students to reflect the District’s demographic. If Aboriginal students are accepted in the initial group of eighteen, these students will be additional to the two spots designated for Aboriginal students.
- Where a family has twins, both children will be considered together.
- A wait list of boys and girls will also be allocated. Students will be accepted off the wait list if a place becomes available. Vacant spots will not normally be filled by wait-listed students after the third week in September.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can take part in this program?
Any child who resides within School District 62 boundaries and turns five years of age by December in the same calendar year that they begin school.
How will I know if I have a space?
Parents of accepted students will be notified within three weeks following registration. In February, families will be asked to visit and observe a full morning of Nature Kindergarten with their child to confirm their child’s placement. At this point, confirmed participants will be officially enrolled in the Nature Kindergarten program at Sangster Elementary or Saseenos Elementary Schools and their child will no longer be enrolled in any other SD62 school.
For more information, please contact Principal Maureen Lauren at 250-478-4441 at Sangster Elementary or Principal Ruchi McArthur at 250-642-5261 at Saseenos Elementary or visit the Kindergarten page on the District’s website.