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Oct. 16, 2021 | Saturday
Local News
Kickstart Kindergarten Open Houses welcomed new students into local schools Thursday

Three-year-old Emme Johnson is eager to “find anything pink” when she starts school this September, while her twin brother Owen is most excited for the library and gym, their mother Erika Johnson said while the family toured St. Davids Public School Thursday morning.

The District School Board of Niagara held one-day Kickstart Kindergarten Open Houses across Niagara to introduce students to new school environments before they begin junior kindergarten in the fall.

Parents officially registered their children for the new school year with school administration before touring the school and meeting current students and teachers.

The Lake Report was welcomed into both St. Davids and Crossroads Public Schools to speak with hopeful students and families during their visit.

Though many kids were initially shy in the new setting, they warmed up after being greeted and shown around by kindergartners and teachers.

Lincoln Thwaites, 3, will join his older sister Issie at Crossroads in the fall. As he jumped from different play areas and activity stations during his visit, his mother Jenn Thwaites said he is “a little nervous, but pretty excited,” for the new year.

“He’s really excited for the bus,” she added.

St. Davids principal Tracey Leemet said enrollment has increased steadily over the last several years.

Pulling students from the Niagara on the Green neighbourhood, she said the school has also seen a rise in diversity of the student population in that time.

“Many of the international students of Niagara College who have kids and live in that neighbourhood, those families come here,” she said.

And though many of those new students are not native English speakers, she said it’s "incredible" how quick they can pick up the language while immersed in kindergarten.

A representative from the school board said it’s too early for numbers on how many new students will enroll this fall as that is tracked at the end of October.

But the number of junior kindergarten students increased for both Crossroads and St. Davids Public Schools in previous years.

In 2018 Crossroads had 37 students enrolled in junior kindergarten and St. Davids had 32.

In 2019, enrollment increased for both, with 44 at Crossroads and 39 at St. Davids.

Both schools each have three combined junior and senior kindergarten classes.

Each kindergarten classroom with 16 or more students has an “educator team,” which the ministry of education’s website says includes a teacher and an early childhood educator.

“These educators have complementary skills that create a learning environment to support the unique needs of each child,” the website states.

Currently, St. Davids three kindergarten classes has 30, 29, and 15 students and Crossroads has 26 students in each of the three classes.