What is the Nature Kindergarten Program?
The Nature Kindergarten program is a pilot program that is in its second year and will be offered by the Sooke School District beginning in September 2012, based at Sangster 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.
The intention is for students to spend a half-day outside every morning in natural settings (primarily on the property of Royal Roads University). Children would return to school for their lunch and in the afternoon for indoor learning.
Who can take part in this program beginning September 2013?
Any child who resides within School District 62 boundaries and whose 5th birthday falls between
January 1 and December 31, 2013 can participate in this program.
To find out if your child will be suited to this program, please attend one of the information sessions listed below.
Registration Step 1: Attend an information session
To ensure the greatest success for the children in the program, families are strongly encouraged to attend information sessions if they are interested in registering their child in this program. These sessions will allow you to develop a better understanding of the Nature Kindergarten program, and what it will mean for your child and family. This is also the only opportunity to get an application form in advance of registration day. Three Nature Kindergarten Parent Information Sessions will be offered in January 2013:
- Saturday, January 12th, 10am-12pm, Sangster Elementary School
- Wednesday, January 16th, 7:00-8:30pm, Sangster Elementary School
- An additional session will be held at Journeys of the Heart at Wishart Elementary School, date TBA
All sessions will cover the same information. A family member must be present to receive an application form. Application forms will only be available at the parent information sessions and on Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 at 8:00 am at the Sooke School Board Office (3143 Jacklin Rd). There will be separate registration lines for families with a form and those without a form.
Step 2: Register at your catchment school
As a space for your child is not guaranteed in this program, all Kindergarten students must register at their catchment school or French Immersion school during Kindergarten registration week (week of January 28, 2013).
Step 3: Register for Nature Kindergarten at the board office
Nature Kindergarten application forms will be accepted at the school board office on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 from 8 am to 4 pm on a “first come, first served” basis according to the criteria identified below. Applications will be stamped with the date and time of receipt. Based on this process, twenty students will be admitted to the program.
Please note …
- 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. For this reason, there will be two line-ups for registration: one for female students and one for male students.
- 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 twenty, 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 September 13, 2013.
How will I know if I have a space?
Parents of accepted students will be notified no later than February 22nd, 2013. Families will be asked to visit and observe a full morning of Nature Kindergarten with their child prior to March 8th 2013. Families will be asked to confirm their child’s Nature Kindergarten placement by March 8th, 2013. At this point, confirmed participants will be officially enrolled in the Nature Kindergarten program at Sangster Elementary School and their child will no longer be enrolled in any other school.
For more information, please contact Frances Krusekopf at 250-478-2332 or Maureen Lauren at 250-478-4441 or visit http://naturekindergarten.sd62.bc.ca/
I have a 1 year old who would LOVE this program when age ready. Realize it’s only a 2 year pilot. Is there a list I can join for updates/support/future registrations?
FABULOUS concept. An invaluable education. Thanks!
I was wondering when the 2013 information sessions will be held? I am very interested in having my son attend the nature kindergarten.
Is there an option available that would have a child participate only in the nature mornings and not the classroom afternoons, or does it have to be a full enrollment? And/or what about less than 5 days per week? We plan to homeschool our children, yet I would love my daughters to learn so much about nature with other kids. Thank you for your time!
I just noticed the mention of a 3rd session and I am very eager to find out the date/time and also I am hoping it is a least a few days before or after the posted sessions as we are away on a family vacation from Jan 10-17. We really don’t want to miss the oppertunity to get some info and a registration form. Any chance you could e-mail when the date for the 3rd session is available? Thank you
Hi there, I am a university student from the east coast of Canada and am planning on doing a short presentation about your school, and other nature kindergartens to my childhood anthropology class sometime in March. I was wondering if you could tell me if there is a tuition price to your school and how many children you accept into the each year? Thanks so much! I appreciate it!
There is no tuition price as we are a public school system and there is no fee attached to this program. There are 22 students accepted each year.
Hi Frances, what an awesome initiative. As a current B Ed student and nature enthusiast I would love to get involved with a program like this or an equivalent at the Elementary level – is there such a school in BC?
Thank you for your interest. There are an increasing number of similar programs being initiated in school districts around the province. I encourage you to review websites of school districts you are interested in working in in the future. Best of luck!
I am working on opening a outdoor preschool program. I am wondering if I could come and visit the school to get a better idea of how your program is running. I will be in Victoria area on Wednesday/Thursday this week. ( May 1-2 2013)
Thank you for your interest. Unfortunately, due to the level of interest in this program, we are not able to accomodate visitors. We encourage those interested to take a Nature Kindergarten Experience course via the Continuing Studies at Royal Roads Univeristy. Best of luck with your outdoor preschool program.
I want to ask about the Outdoor pre-school program:
Licensed Nature Preschool
4 Year Old Program
can you tell more about that program and if it is run as Co-op program.
Thank you for your interest. This is not a licensed program as it is an enrolling class in a public school system. It is not run as a co-op program although a couple of parents do join the program every Tuesday.
West Shore Parks and Recreation Centre runs a Licensed 4 yr old Nature Preschool Program if you are interested.
Are employment positions for the Junior Kindergarten listed on the District website and if not who may I direct my employment inquiry to?
Thank you M Broadhurst
Yes, any employment opportunities are listed on the school district website. At this time, we do not have any Nature Kindergarten job postings.
Hello, Our family is moving to Sooke near the end of August and although I plan to keep our son River, who is 4.5 years old (his birthday is Dec 18, 2008) for another year of pre-school/home with me, I wanted to enquire about this nature program for starting in September 2014. I understand this is a pilot program in the works, will this program be continuing for next year? If so, I would love some additional information and the required paperwork to have my son enrolled for Nature Kindergarten.
I am also a family and kid’s yoga teacher here in Vancouver. I teach in schools, primarily in the pre-school to Grade 4 age range. Would there be any employment in your Nature Kindergarten to teach the kids (and teachers) yoga? Please let me know if you would be interested implementing a yoga program for your school. I would be happy to send out additional information of my services.
Thank you so much for your time, I look forward to hearing back from you.
At this time, we are uncertain about the continuation of Nature Kindergarten beyond its pilot phase as it is subject to board of trustees approval. Please check back with the school district in January 2014. Unfortunately, there is currently no funding for additional employment opportunities in the program.
Thanks for your interest, Frances
[…] Sooke District Nature Kindergarten, Sanger Elementary School, Victoria, BC, http://naturekindergarten.sd62.bc.ca/registration-process/ […]
Am just wondering when you will be making a desion as to if you will be running this program for 2014 -2015 school year and when you plan to have your information nights ? thank you stacey
Please see our blog posts for parent information sessions. The program will be continuing. Frances
I see that the Victoria Nature schools age group is 3-5yrs of age and will be starting a program for 2 yr olds. Is this the same with the Sooke program? Or is it only for 5 yr olds?
The Sooke School District program is only for Kindergarten aged students. Registration for the 2014/15 school year is completed at this time.
We just moved here from out of province and my son would really benefit from this program. I’m hoping it is not too late for us to enrol. Please contact me.