Sask. Rivers pleased to see full-time kindergarten motion accepted at SSBA Fall Assembly

Neil Finch, Director of Education, Sask Rivers Public School Division.

Saskatchewan Rivers Education Director Neil Finch said he’s excited to see a joint Sask. Rivers motion about full-time Kindergarten pass at the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) Fall Assembly in Regina.

Sask. Rivers sponsored the motion along with Saskatchewan Public Schools. The motion requests the Ministry of Education fund full day, every day, kindergarten programming for students, and revisit the mandatory age to begin schooling. Both school divisions say the commitment would improve early education outcomes for students.

Finch said the motion passing with overwhelming support exciting for the board.

“That doesn’t mean that full-time K is going to exist, but now you’ve got the SSBA that can take that forward and advocate for that to exist and be funded for,” Finch said. “We’re hopeful that the voice from the SSBA will help move that along a positive path.”

The Board hopes this resolution will compel other boards and the government to consider the benefits and potential positive impacts of a universal, full-time Kindergarten program on student achievement in Saskatchewan. The resolution passed with 81.82 per cent support from SSBA members.

The Provincial Education Plan lays out priorities for education in the province of Saskatchewan to 2030. It makes commitments relative to early learning but does not commit to a strategic shift towards implementing universal, province-wide, all-day, every-day kindergarten over the duration of the plan.

Busy month of meetings ahead in January

The Saskatchewan Rivers School Division is planning for many meetings with various stakeholders and Minister of Education Jeremy Cockrill in January.

Board chair Darlene Rowden updated trustees about the plans on Monday, Nov. 20 at the Board of Education’s regular meeting.

Cockerill is scheduled to visit on Jan. 15 and the board still has to make decisions about the agenda.

“I think that final decisions will be made at our December meeting as to what that visit will look like,” Education Director Neil Finch said. “I think we have got the Minister for an hour from 11:00 to 12:00 and we’ll have lunch with the Minister as well.”

Finch said that the division will be busy in January because they are planning a day of linkage meetings all on Jan. 29 spread throughout the day.

These include the annual RM and rural stakeholders Meeting, Indigenous communities meeting and Catholic School Division meeting.

“It’s going to be a full day, absolutely and a really good one when you look at the partnership work that we need to do as well,” Finch said.

As well, at the recent Saskatchewan School Boards Association Fall Assembly in Regina, the Board put forth a joint resolution with Saskatoon Public Schools to request the Ministry of Education fund full day every day kindergarten programming for students and revisit the mandatory age to begin schooling as a commitment to improved early education outcomes.