Parenting & Family

Question about JK Schedule and Optional Attendance

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[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto

Question about JK Schedule and Optional Attendance

Hi everyone,
I have a question about JK. The school for our area has a low ranking on the ontario ranking website..another issue is my husband visited it and he did not get a good vibe from the school..the doors were unlocked near the KG classrooms...

Our issue is, we want to send our child to another school 1 km away from our house. It has a high ranking on the website and also uniforms which we would like. The question is, how do we go about convincing the principal that we would like our child sent here? We are new to this as this is our first child attending school.

Another question is schedule for jk. How is a normal schedule? Does it include a lot of stimulating activities? Since kg is full day now..what do kids get to do?

Can some parents shed some light on to this please? Thanks in advance!
48 replies
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Dec 26, 2007
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First, I'd have to say I wouldn't put too much stock in those school ratings, your impressions when you visit should hold more weight.

As for convincing the principal, there's really nothing s/he will be able to do for you. Call the school and ask if it is open for optional attendance for kindergarten. If it is, you can apply for optional attendance and your child should not have a problem going there, if it's not, there's really nothing the principal will be able to do for you. The only exception I can think of is that if there is an in-school daycare that your child is already attending at that school, s/he would be allowed to attend school there even if it is closed to optional attendance. All this is, of course, assuming that this is just a regular community public school we're talking about, if it's an alternative school or one with special programs of some sort there may be an application process.

As for programming in kindergarten, you can look up the kindergarten curriculum online, which all schools should be teaching mainly through play-based learning (no "skill and drill", particularly at this age). The programming will vary from school to school depending on the needs of the kids, the physical space, numbers of kids and staff, and other considerations. There should be outdoor play every day (weather permitting) and lots of time for centre time play which is set up in a way and directed so kids learn through this play, as well as teacher-directed large and small group lessons.

I'm assuming that your child hasn't started JK yet? If s/he's going to be 4 before December 31 you can register him/her now and start right away, if not you're looking at starting next september. If you're starting next year, you can register starting in Feburary, and there should be some kind of "open house" or "welcome to kindergarten" event in May or June for parents and kids that will be starting school the following school year. If you attend this event, you'll get much more information about the programming and scheduling at your school, and be able to ask any questions you may have.

Good luck!
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
Hi jerry, thanks for your reply. We sent our child to a small private school in our area but we are moving. The school has arts and crafts once a week and nap time from 12:50-3pm with play time after 2 pm if woken before that. Id really like to hear how kg is all about. They had told us it was full of stimulating activities...we received the schedule earlier this week and im not content.

How do we go about kindly criticizing the school in our attendance area to the other school we like? Thanks
Deal Addict
Dec 26, 2007
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Do you mean the private school they're in right now has this, or the public school in your area will have this? I've never seen a kindergarten in a public school with a scheduled/manditory naptime, at most some will have a "quiet time" after lunch where kids do calming activities like independent reading (and sometimes a few of the JKs will fall asleep, especially at the start of the year, but it's not actively encouraged as a "naptime", more of a "downtime") and some don't even have this.

Arts and crafts should be built in to class activities on a regular basis in kindergarten (both as class projects and free exploration art such as easel painting or playdough during centre time). Sometimes the kids will have a period called "arts and crafts" if that is what their classroom teacher's prep time is delivered through (i.e., the kids go to an art room with the school's art teacher for certain periods during the week), but this shouldn't be the only art in the program. Similarly, if the school has a music teacher or gym teacher that takes the kids as part of the weekly schedule, that doesn't mean it's the only time the kids do music or physical activity during the week. So, this could just be a misunderstanding due to how they're labelling it on the schedule, but if the children in your child's class truly only have access to art materials once a week in kindergarten, yeah, that's messed up.

It's true that kindergarten should be full of stimulating activities, but to the casual observer a lot of these activities often look like "just playing". If the centres in the classroom and group activities are set up correctly, the kids will be independently learning through exploration with some guidance from the staff. If every day is just a free for all with no connection to curriculum or lesson themes, then there might be a problem, but I'd be wary of assuming no learning or stimulation was going on just because the program was play and exploration based, as that's how it should be in kindergarten.

Not sure exactly what you mean by "how do we go about criticizing...". I'm also still not clear if you're going to be registering your child in the public school immediately or for next year.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
Hi, yes we are going to be sending our child this month to another school. I mean, how do we explain to the principal why we didn't like the other public school in our attendance area and how do we tell them we prefer their school? What would be a good response? I assume they may just say all public schools are the same and shrug it off as no big deal.
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Nov 2, 2012
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marissa23 wrote:
Sep 7th, 2013 7:57 pm
Hi, yes we are going to be sending our child this month to another school. I mean, how do we explain to the principal why we didn't like the other public school in our attendance area and how do we tell them we prefer their school? What would be a good response? I assume they may just say all public schools are the same and shrug it off as no big deal.
Just outline the reasons you mentioned above. The principal may or may not be agreeable.

For what it's worth, I think kids in JK or SK should spend more time just playing and being outdoors, getting physical activity and enjoying nature. I think we put far too much emphasis on "instruction" and even homework (?!) for little ones.

If you push little ones too hard early on, they will likely grow to hate school.
Going to school should be fun. I even think it's sad that they have done away with nap time. Kids need nap time (especially if they go all day).

Focus on inspiring your child to love school. A child who has a real love of learning will go further overall than a child who is pushed early on and eventually burns out. (Just my two cents...I realize some parents and educators disagree with me).
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The rankings mean nothing. That said...

If you want in the other school tell the principal your child's daycare is located across the street from the other school.
[OP]
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Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
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Toronto
Hi thanks for all of your input. What do the rankings have to do with the school then? Just confused. Thanks
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marissa23 wrote:
Sep 7th, 2013 7:57 pm
Hi, yes we are going to be sending our child this month to another school. I mean, how do we explain to the principal why we didn't like the other public school in our attendance area and how do we tell them we prefer their school? What would be a good response? I assume they may just say all public schools are the same and shrug it off as no big deal.
Ah, I see. Most of the kids attending through optional attendance at my school are doing so because it is more convienient for the parents at pick up/drop off (closer to work), because they stay with grandparents before/after school who live near our school, or because the child had difficulty at the home school for whatever reason. You can give whatever reason you'd like (if anyone even asks) it doesn't really make a difference. It's not the reason for wanting to go to the school that will determine if your child can go there, it's whether the school has space for more kids in your child's grade.

Optional attendance is strictly a numbers game, if it's open, it's because that grade/school is low on students and they'll likely be glad to have you. If it's closed, it's because they are already over capacity so can't take any more students. No story you tell is going to make a difference, no matter what anyone tells you, either the school has room in that grade or they don't.

If they're closed to optional attendance, you can ask the office if you can periodically call to check on the status (many schools' registration numbers are rather changable, especially at this time of year, so there is a slim chance you'd have more luck at a later date) but I wouldn't pester them or try too hard to "plead your case", if their hands are tied by the numbers all insisting will do is get you a reputation for being a pushy parent.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
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Toronto
Awesome jerrysiz. Thank you so much for your advice. Fingers crossed :)
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
Hi, I just want to update here and let you know a few things.

I live in Toronto so apparently they say you have to go to your home address's designated school. A few schools I've called, they've told us that there is no exceptions to this unless your child attended daycare in that school.

I am a bit confused as we are from a different city and usually other schools (in our hometown) accepted children even if they are 10-15 km away. Is this something for Toronto? What happens if your child's teacher yells and does not discipline properly? The private school we're sending her too now..we are not satisfied with the teachers actions. She tells kids they will go outside and then changes her mind (maybe lies to settle them down)...she raised her voice at my daughter because she was counting the shoes and fixing her hairclip. What on earth?

Am I being unreasonable here? We discipline our children positively..no screaming, no yelling, no threatening, no bribing or lying. I would like a school that does the same..without losing control. These are JK children for god's sake. She wasn't even throwing tantrums. And even so a teacher should not be raising their voice or losing control on a small child.

If we send her to the public school in our area...and if a parent does not like the teacher..are you pretty much stuck with this? There's absolutely no way to send your child to a different school??? Sorry so many questions. Just bad experience with her first school. Were still new here and none of our friends have school aged children yet. Thanks again!
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Nov 2, 2012
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Just curious...how do you know what really happened at your daughter's school?

I'm assuming you weren't there?

If your daughter is the one who told you, you may need to take it with a grain of salt.

That doesn't mean your daughter is lying.

But some kids will claim someone yelled at them if the person just spoke to them sternly. Or if the person merely said "no".

Was your child really just counting shoes or messing up all of the shoes?

I just think you owe it to the teacher to get her side of the story before jumping to conclusions.
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Aug 19, 2013
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marissa23 wrote:
Sep 11th, 2013 4:11 pm
Hi, I just want to update here and let you know a few things.

I live in Toronto so apparently they say you have to go to your home address's designated school. A few schools I've called, they've told us that there is no exceptions to this unless your child attended daycare in that school.

I am a bit confused as we are from a different city and usually other schools (in our hometown) accepted children even if they are 10-15 km away. Is this something for Toronto? What happens if your child's teacher yells and does not discipline properly? The private school we're sending her too now..we are not satisfied with the teachers actions. She tells kids they will go outside and then changes her mind (maybe lies to settle them down)...she raised her voice at my daughter because she was counting the shoes and fixing her hairclip. What on earth?

Am I being unreasonable here? We discipline our children positively..no screaming, no yelling, no threatening, no bribing or lying. I would like a school that does the same..without losing control. These are JK children for god's sake. She wasn't even throwing tantrums. And even so a teacher should not be raising their voice or losing control on a small child.

If we send her to the public school in our area...and if a parent does not like the teacher..are you pretty much stuck with this? There's absolutely no way to send your child to a different school??? Sorry so many questions. Just bad experience with her first school. Were still new here and none of our friends have school aged children yet. Thanks again!
I think most of ontario has the same rules. You child goes to the school in the area unless they special permission not to. Things like daycare would be approved reasons for switching. You can't switch just because you like another school better. If you have your heart set on a particular school then really you need to move to be in that area.

Like someone else said take what your child said with a grain of salt. They could have perceived someone telling them no as "yelling". Your child may have gotten in trouble not for counting shoes but maybe for not listening (for example she may have been asked to go sit for story time). And as far as going outside and then not, maybe something came up that meant they had to change plans. Sorry but you will have accept that teachers won't do things just as you would. They have an entire class to worry about and need to be consistent. If you have any serious issues you can always sit down with the teacher and principal to work things out.

Your child is just starting school. You have many years ahead of dealing with teachers you may not like.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
Yes you guys may be right we are pretty new at this but we chose that school because we thought it may be better and there is a 1:6 teacher ratio. They've also got rid of bus service to our area so were pulling her out. I just really want my child to enjoy her Jk SK years as its her first impression of school. Its our first child attending school so its pretty hard for us. i know were not the only ones. Hope I'm being reasonable here. I know some teachers can be real mean unfortunately. I just want her to have a great start.
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There are some lousy teachers out there, but they usually aren't found at the JK or SK level.

My own kids will sometimes claim that I yelled (when I merely told them no) or that I hurt their feelings (again, for saying no to something).

Have you ever heard this teacher yelling at any of the kids or witnessed abrasive behaviour on her part? If you have real concerns, then just tell the teacher your child was upset and ask the teacher what happened.

You are right to place a big importance on your child liking school. Is your child happy to go to school or does your child get nervous or anxious?

A 1:6 ratio is great.

Are you looking at public, private or either?

Toronto Waldorf School is not exactly private...but it is an independent school. And the kids who attend are usually very passionate about school and learning.

Good luck!

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