Eight parents of students at Ecolé College Heights came out to the Prince George School District board meeting to express their opposition to a, “first come, first serve,” policy for Kindergarten registration.
Starting this school year, siblings of children already attending a school are not given priority over children with no siblings in a school. Registration for Kindergarten is done online, with fierce competition to get children into high-demand programs like the French program at College Heights.
Parent and registered psychologist Elizabeth Rocca said the support of older siblings is important for children when they start school.
“Having siblings attend different schools is not in the child’s best interest at all,” Rocca said. “Regarding sibling relationships, what the research shows … is older siblings act as teachers. The more you build a web of people that are connected to that child … is one of the key factors of resilience in children.”
Supporting successful transitions early in a child’s school experience can give children a positive, lasting impression of school, she said.
“Our kids have a right to have those transitions be as successful as possible,” Rocca said. “Our kids deserve to have their sibling’s support.”
Parent Jay Greenfield said keeping families together at the same school just makes sense.
“The lack of a sibling preference policy puts an unnecessary burden on families,” Greenfield said. “On so many levels it just makes sense and I don’t know why you’d choose to burden families that way.”
The school district is currently conducting a 60-day public consultation on the controversial policy. The deadline for input in Jan. 6.
“This policy is not cast in stone,” board chairman Lyn Hall said. “A decision won’t be made until the January board meeting.”