Parenting & Family

Question about JK Schedule and Optional Attendance

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Deal Addict
Aug 19, 2013
2216 posts
760 upvotes
JaneDil wrote:
Sep 11th, 2013 6:12 pm
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![/QUOT

Lol my kids can get all dramatic when I say no too
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
Well we decided to stick to Public for now..however..this has been harder than we thought. I called a couple schools out of our designated area but they will not accept unless our child was enrolled in the daycare there.

Our home school is the only school which will accept us. However, they are not providing us with bus service. We live 1.5 km away from the school and they require a 1.6 km distance. I have 2 additional children, one nursing infant and a 2 year old. I will not be able to walk 1.5 km distance 4 times a day, rain or shine, slush or ice every single day of the school year with 2 young kids. They were not very helpful. I feel very helpless right now. I am hoping someone can direct us in the correct direction.

Does anyone have any advice for us?
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
3183 posts
286 upvotes
Toronto
Why four times per day? Does the school not let the kids stay for lunch?
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
Because the distance one way is 1.5 km. I have to walk there and back in the mornings..then again to the school and back home with my other 2 younger children. Also I have to double check about the lunch... Looking at the application it does say that the child needs to go home for lunch that would make it 6 times..Hauling my infant and toddler out in the rain and cold 3x a day..making it 10 km a day nearly. This is just ridiculous. I cannot believe how unhelpful they are to us about this.
Deal Addict
Jan 5, 2006
1430 posts
114 upvotes
Midtown Toronto
marissa23 wrote:
Sep 19th, 2013 11:08 pm
Because the distance one way is 1.5 km. I have to walk there and back in the mornings..then again to the school and back home with my other 2 younger children. Also I have to double check about the lunch... Looking at the application it does say that the child needs to go home for lunch that would make it 6 times..Hauling my infant and toddler out in the rain and cold 3x a day..making it 10 km a day nearly. This is just ridiculous. I cannot believe how unhelpful they are to us about this.
I'm struggling to understand why your situation is TDSB's responsibility.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
Because there is actually exceptions to this such as both parents working, medical reasons etc. and because we are taxpayers in this country so I would expect some sort of assistance for families in certain situations. If they provide transport for people who live 100 meters more, why not point us to the right direction?

I have not been given advice in this situation from schools and have not had luck finding the correct person from tdsb to give us some advice or pointers. I am sure there are exceptions as we have family friends working as a principal in a different districts school board who have assisted others in different matters. The office just basically shrugged us off.

Id just like to know what we can do since obviously the school doesn't want to advise us. Odd thing happened...before i told them how far I lived..they told me they do not even have bus service until i brought up the issue that your website says you offer it for 1.6 km or more. Then she proceeded and asked how far we live and told us yes well you can try applying, here is a sheet but we dont think you will be accepted.

Flyinggonzo: I don't see how I am being unreasonable here. I apologize if were asking too much. im just not used to this. we come from a different school district who offered bus service readily to families who needed it.
Deal Addict
Jun 9, 2003
4420 posts
565 upvotes
Can you imagine if they just let everyone move their kids from school to school as they wished? It would be total chaos. Every school with a high "rating" would be flooded with applicants and those with a low "rating" would be closed...
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
13037 posts
612 upvotes
marissa23 wrote:
Sep 19th, 2013 8:43 pm
Well we decided to stick to Public for now..however..this has been harder than we thought. I called a couple schools out of our designated area but they will not accept unless our child was enrolled in the daycare there.

Our home school is the only school which will accept us. However, they are not providing us with bus service. We live 1.5 km away from the school and they require a 1.6 km distance. I have 2 additional children, one nursing infant and a 2 year old. I will not be able to walk 1.5 km distance 4 times a day, rain or shine, slush or ice every single day of the school year with 2 young kids. They were not very helpful. I feel very helpless right now. I am hoping someone can direct us in the correct direction.

Does anyone have any advice for us?
That is standard...part of the continuity of care that you can use to justify out of district schooling.

1.5 Km is not all that far...even if walking it 4 or 6 times a day.

As for bus...there is a line drawn. You fall outside it.

In the end, you are not unique. You can walk with your kids or you can drive. Really, your kids will be fine going into and out of the cold. Dress them properly and there is no issue.

On school bulletin boards there are often Nannies looking for small jobs like walking kids to school and back.

As for lunches, most schools recommend that the kids go home for lunch, but they cannot make this mandatory. How could they. Parents work. They will have facilities for the kids to eat...now, there is a good chance that a good chunk of their friends will go home for lunch.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
Kohanz wrote:
Sep 20th, 2013 8:55 am
Can you imagine if they just let everyone move their kids from school to school as they wished? It would be total chaos. Every school with a high "rating" would be flooded with applicants and those with a low "rating" would be closed...
Sorry I mentioned that this was our school for our address. Not a school out of our area.
My issue is, there seems to be exceptions to policies but the school isnt interested in helping us out at all. As I mentioned, they proceeded to tell me that they had no bus service until I told them they did..why does everyone assume that just because they work for public sector every person does their job properly? We give criminals rights but we cant help out families?

Sure, I am not unique.. but according to the transportstion policies, they do offer alternatives for different circumstances such as both parents working, medical conditions, siblings etc. the school never mentioned this either.

I would love to walk the distance but it is not feasible when you have to get a baby and toddler to tag alone with you 2-3 times a day..rain and snow and below 0 conditions.

I know for a fact there are exceptions. My only complaint is the school did not direct me at all. Who can I contact in this case?
Deal Addict
Dec 26, 2007
2881 posts
167 upvotes
I was really trying to help you before, but now, yes, I think you're being unreasonable.

The school staff telling you that your child was not eligible for bussing was not some conspiracy or laziness on their part (and, FWIW, the tone that's coming through in your post when talking about school staff/public workers isn't going to serve you well if you're looking for help from those that know the school system), it's because they know that all the students for whom the school is their home school live within walking distance, as do you. Other boards in areas that have fallen victim to urban sprawl have large schools further apart and bus kids to them, whereas most schools in the TDSB are smaller community schools that are within walking distance of the homes of the families in their catchment areas.

Yes, bussing is occasionally provided for specific circumstances. For example, if the school within walking distance of your home is a french immersion school, and you want your child in a regular school, the board may provide bussing from the french school to the nearest non-french school (and vice versa), but even in that case you still have to walk your kid to your home school to get the bus. Similarly, if your child has educational needs that result in IPRC placement in a program located in a school other than your home school, the board provides bussing. Bussing is provided only for extenuating circumstances, having both parents working or having a younger child at home doesn't qualify. Considering the number of families in that situation, if the board provided bussing for reasons like those your taxes would have to go up quite a bit.

The only (slim) chance you have for bussing is to see if there is a school bus already running from your home school to a school where it would be more convienient for you to pick up your child, if there is you can ask to put in an Empty Seat Request. If there is space on an existing bus route, your child may be able to get on that bus. But, since your child is already attending your home school, it's extremely unlikely that there would be another school closer to you that the board was bussing kids to already.

I would advise you to do what most parents in your situation do (it's really not as unique a situation as you think it is). If you don't want to do the walk twice a day yourself, see if there are families at the school that live near you that would be willing to trade off (you walk your kid and theirs in the morning, they pick up their kid and yours in the afternoon), or, as nalababe says, there are often people that will walk kids back and forth for a small fee. I would also advise you not to be so negative towards your child's school for not helping you out to your satisfaction with this issue. The school is responsible for doing many things for your child, this is not one of them.
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
13037 posts
612 upvotes
marissa23 wrote:
Sep 20th, 2013 10:44 am
Sorry I mentioned that this was our school for our address. Not a school out of our area.
My issue is, there seems to be exceptions to policies but the school isnt interested in helping us out at all. As I mentioned, they proceeded to tell me that they had no bus service until I told them they did..why does everyone assume that just because they work for public sector every person does their job properly? We give criminals rights but we cant help out families?

Sure, I am not unique.. but according to the transportstion policies, they do offer alternatives for different circumstances such as both parents working, medical conditions, siblings etc. the school never mentioned this either.

I would love to walk the distance but it is not feasible when you have to get a baby and toddler to tag alone with you 2-3 times a day..rain and snow and below 0 conditions.

I know for a fact there are exceptions. My only complaint is the school did not direct me at all. Who can I contact in this case?
Yes it is. Not that difficult. Do you never take your kids outside? Might not be the most pleasant all the time, but it is hardly "not feasible". Maybe we are mistaken, but it appears as you are staying at home with your kids. So you have time. Now maybe if you are in a wheelchair, this could be an issue, but otherwise.

Every day countless families take their kids to and pick up from our school. Sure not everyone is 1.5km, but 1 km is not uncommon. And yes, many others are pushing kids in strollers or in various carrying devices.

If you are really that adverse to walking then drive.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
Jerrysiz..sorry I came off as a bit frustrated, but I am never rude to anyone as I find it very distasteful and immature. I am just expressing my frustration on here on the secretary's part who never bothered to even tell me there was bus for the school..until I found out myself on the website. People assume everyone does their job properly..she might have been having a bad day, who knows...i smiled and thanked her and walked out.

We have seen other school boards in ontario make exceptions for parents with small children..Even when they are not within the boundaries. When you nurse a child, you cant just give him a bottle (nursing infants do not take a bottle) in the stroller and expect him to stop crying or pick up a 3 month old while taking a 2 year old and 4 year old with you.

Of course we take our kids out, the problem here is I have to be on time at the school 2 times a day..and maybe 3 if they do not allow us for staying at school during lunch. My main concern is the cold weather..and being punctual and walking 6 km a day with small children.

I just had a baby so yes, I am staying at home with my kids. But why assume a SAHM has time? I also work from home while taking care of my children, cooking meals etc. Time itself is not the issue.

We have one vehicle my husband drives to work so driving is not an option. We do not need a second vehicle at the moment. I would consider a $10,000 tuition school with bus rather than buying another vehicle just to take my child to school.

Anyways, I guess I expected the same treatment other school boards give but I see it is not an option in Toronto...never would have thought that.

If budget is an issue.. Then I would not mind paying for transportation..and I wouldn't have an issue picking or dropping my child at the bus stop since it would not be anywhere near walking 6 km a day with an infant, toddler and Jk student in cold weather.

Please understand we are new at this. I did not want to be unreasonable or ask for too much. Sorry if I sounded too greedy or rude. That was not my intention. I simply compared what other boards offer in two other cities we have family in and our hometown.
Deal Addict
Dec 26, 2007
2881 posts
167 upvotes
Marissa, the secretary didn't tell you there was a bus for the school because there probably isn't a bus for the school, and if there is it would be for the kids in schools/programs I mentioned above, not for regular kids attending their own home school.

Different boards do things differently. Because TDSB has many small schools that are fairly densely distributed, they don't provide bussing in most cases because the vast majority of their students live within walking distance of their home school.

In the extremely unlikely event that there is an existing school bus route that has stops both at your home school and another school that is geographically closer than your home school, you can ask for an Empty Seat Request, but even in that case you'd still be in the position of taking your child to where the bus picks up/drops off the kids at the closer school and waiting outside for the bus twice a day, which may actually entail more time outside than just walking your child to your home school.

The only other options have already been outlined in this thread (trade off trips with another parent, pay someone, drive, etc.). My suggestion would be to get to know some parents from around your home that have kids at the same school and try to set up a deal to take turns "carpooling" (walkpooling?) the kids so you don't have to do the trip twice a day.

I know your expectations were different, but the TDSB simply doesn't provide what you're looking for, it's not the office staff's fault. Think of it this way, it could be worse. When I taught kindergarten a few years back (before it went full day), parents in your situation had to walk to drop off their kids at 8:40 then come back to get them at 11:30 (or 12:30/3:15 if they were in the afternoon class), those who lived at distance barely had time to go inside and get warm before turning around to do the walk again. How did they do it? They bundled up their younger kids in the stroller or sled and just got on with it, or they made arrangements with other parents to take turns picking up the kids, or they hired someone to do it, or they drove them, or they put their kid in before/after school daycare. They just made it work in one way or another, as you're going to have to.

So, you've got all your options, sorry you don't particularly like any of them, but that's what it is. I don't know what it's like at your school, but at mine I'd say at least a quarter of the kindie parents are in your situation, so hopefully it won't be hard to find someone willing to work with you on a trade (or some enterprising person who offers this service for a fee). Good luck.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2012
726 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
jerrysiz..when I brought up to her that "your website says you have it for JK - Gr 5 students.." then she proceeded to say, "Oh! Yes, there is a bus!" .. What if I was a parent who did not know how to use a website? But like I said, it wouldn't be a problem picking and dropping off my child with 2 small children at a bus stop because it is still shorter. I would assume the bus stop is about 100 - 150 meters further, which I don't mind. Anyways, we do not know anyone in the area so I would not trust my child with anyone I do not know for car pooling or walking either.

Maybe we will just stick to private school after all who provides busing.
Deal Addict
Dec 26, 2007
2881 posts
167 upvotes
Hmmmm. If that's the case, I'm not familiar with it from any of the schools I've been at in TDSB. The only thing I can think of is if your area had particularly long distances between schools, due to closing of some smaller community schools and consolidating the students with other schools or something, if so I think it's quite uncommon. Like I said, the only school busses I'm familiar with in TDSB schools are for special programs or kids not attending their home school due to IPRC placement, and even with those busses, the only ones that drop/pick up kids anywhere other than their home school are the short busses for kids with intellectual and/or physical disabilities which take them to and from their homes.

In any case, if there is a bus that has stops on the way to the school as you describe, and there is space on the bus, try an Empty Seat Request, I suppose it's possible that an exception would be made if you're so close to the cut off distance. But, of course, it would all depend on how many other kids live close to the cut off distance as well. Unfortunately, the line has to be somewhere, and there are going to be some people very close but not quite inside the border. Try to set up an appointment with the principal or VP in charge of bussing and politely plead your case, but know that there's a possibility things won't go your way. It may be the situation where if they make an exception for you, all of a sudden they have dozens of other parents calling foul and threatening to sue, and then they're in the position of having to provide more busses there is no money for. Sucks, I know, but that's the reality of it. In the meantime, do try to chat with some parents in the schoolyard and try to find an alternate solution, you might be able to come to an arrangement that makes your life easier, or at the very least set up some playdates for your child to make friends in the new neighborhood. :)
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