Thursday, June 03, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Thursday, June 3, 2010)

Finishing touches on the all day kindergarten plans,  our cruise visitors don't always leave happy and the RCMP Rural squad makes a weapons related arrest in Kitkatla, some of the highlights of Thursday's news file.

Daily News, front page headline story
DISTRICT TEACHERS LEARNING THE ROPES FOR ALL-DAY KINDERGARTEN-- The preparations continue within School District 52 for the introduction of all-day kindergarten to the District.

Kimberly Truong's next adventure takes her to Toronto for sessions with the Triple Threat Masters Class Series and perhaps later in the summer a month long stint performing at the PNE in Vancouver.

The Anti-HST forces in the province finds success in its bid to put the Liberal government's tax plans to either an initiative vote or referendum.

The Sports section features a look at TaeKwon do results from a Kitimat tournament as well as Archery results from last month.

(Daily News Archive stories for June 3, 2010)

Teachers learning the ropes for all day kindergarten
Local young dancer is off to the big city
Anti HST has reached its goal
Bluey Day fundraiser is back

The Northern View
First cruise reviews of 2010 less than flattering for Prince Rupert -- Some less than flattering reviews and opinions of our offerings to cruise ship visitors so far this year as the Northern View catches up with (see article here) (Our Podunkian blog is tracking these postings through the year and you can follow along here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Community policing office open -- The city's community policing office is now open for the summer, TV 7 outlines what services are available from the City Hall site (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Kitkatla Weapon Assault -- The Prince Rupert Rural section was called into action in Kitkatla where they effected an arrest on a 25- year old Kitkatla woman on weapons charges (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Naikun Wind President Resigns -- With two failed bids on the record for BC Hydro's clean power call, change has come to the upper offices of Naikun Wind Power (see article here)

CBC News Northern BC, Daybreak North
Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now.

The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page, headline story
District teachers learning the ropes for all-day kindergarten
By George T. Baker
Staff Writer
Prince Rupert Daily News
Thursday, June 3, 2010

School District 52 has been prepping kindergarten teachers for a big change coming the school district’s way in September.

The school district, along with partners from the BC Teachers Federation and the Ministry of Education, have held two workshops so that kindergarten teachers understand how their curriculum will change when teaching four and five-year-olds for a full day, rather than the traditional half-day.

Superintendent Lynn Hauptman said the workshops had gone well and that there was another workshop that could be held later this month or early in the fall to get teachers primed for the FDK.

“We won’t be delivering a new program, but we are extending the curriculum,” explained Hauptman. “This is “the gift of time” in that we are extending the current [half-day] class curriculum to a full day for kindergarten students.”

Concerns about the requirement to enroll students in a full day of kindergarten have not completely faded away, but Hauptman said that parents would still have a choice of enrolling children into Kindergarten classes.

There will also be an opportunity for parents to converse with teachers and elementary school principals about their child’s kindergarten education. While Hauptman wasn’t ready to say that there was sure-fire flexibility in the hours a kindergarten student spends in school, she said that principals and teachers would look at it through a case-by-case basis. “It is a conversation they can have,” said Hauptman.

There have been two test-pilot courses in Prince Rupert. Teachers Mae Jong-Bowles and Bea Skog have been teaching for the past year at Conrad Elementary and Pineridge Elementary respectively.

But come this September most of the schools will offer the courses, including Ecole Westview, which will close after this upcoming year.

Prince Rupert District Teachers Union President Joanna Larson said that the PRDTU is concerned that not enough money is being invested into the FDK rollout to make it a success.

“The workshops have been good, but they are not going to help in the day-to-day teaching,” Larson added.

She also cited some classes, such as the FDK at Westview, that will feature multi-age classrooms, sometimes having Kindergarten through to Grade 2 in the same class.

 “That is going to be difficult for the teacher,” said Larson.

“The most significant difference is that Grade 1 is the year you begin to lean to read and write. Kindergarten is about play and some pre-numeric and reading education.” The school district’s administrators do not think this is as big an issue. Instead, they suggest it could be beneficial for the students to have a mixture of classes together.

 “One of the most important things is when students are confident they share what they have learned. It is always great to have students learn from older students,” said Assistant Superintendent Leah Robinson.

The play aspect is huge for Kindergarten students.

It is about becoming familiar with the educational surroundings and becoming comfortable with school.

The School District brought in 2010 Legacies representative, Pat Holden, then followed it up with a presentation by the BCTF. Two local experts on early childhood education, Skog and Susan Crowley have also been asked to speak to teachers about their experiences.

 “Based on how the brain works, we do need to allow our K-students to play,” said Robinson. “We always want our students to learn from us. But what we have found is that they learn quite well from each other.”

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