In Alberta, Kindergarten is funded by the Government of Alberta for children who will be 5 years old by the end of February of the upcoming school year. While not mandated nor funded by Alberta Education, a Junior Kindergarten (JK) program offers an option for children who are ready for an enriched program, but are not yet ready for a full Kindergarten program.
One student who benefits from JK is the child who meets the February cut-off date, but has a late birthday. Usually this student has already completed preschool, but parents feel that they may not be quite ready for placement in kindergarten due to maturity or to an underdeveloped interest in letters and numbers. For these students, parents feel that kindergarten is “rushing things”, and that future grades will see the child struggling to keep up. The best solution in this case is JK, where the child continues to advance in education, is presented with continued learning opportunities, but is presented with less pressure to “keep the pace” with Kindergarten students.
The second case that we often see is where children do not meet the February 28th cut-off date, but are advanced in literacy and numeracy. These students need to go beyond the preschool focus in order to maintain interest, enthusiasm and curiosity. This 5 day a week program provides with the opportunity to challenge themselves, with regular social interaction and confidence boosting experiences. JK offers language arts, math, science, music and physical activity appropriate for their advanced understanding, in a nurturing and secure atmosphere.
Junior Kindergarten is also beneficial where parents have decided that a child’s ‘official’ kindergarten year will be spent in a language immersion program, such as Spanish or French, or where children are developing their English language skills. Because a second language is a significant change for a child, it is helpful to first attend an English JK. Children gain immensely in self-confidence by spending time getting used to classroom routines, beginning literacy in English, and developing collaborative play.
These children are more assured of success the following year when they engage in these processes in a new language.
To attend our Junior Kindergarten program ,children must turn 4 by September of the current school year. The program operates 5 half days per week, and monthly tuition fees apply.