All Day Kindergarten will be coming to Howard next fall for the 2014-2015 school year. This will mean a few changes for the school and for children in entering into either Junior or Senior Kindergarten in the upcoming year. General information on All Day Kindergarten can be found here.
To accommodate this change at Howard, two additional classrooms are required. The first classroom will be gained by using area 21 all day long. Historically, this room has been shared with the Howard School Daycare. The Daycare has graciously agreed to allow the school to use this space on a full time basis.
The TDSB planning team has been to the school over the last few months to ascertain how best to accommodate the additional kindergarten room. Their conclusion was that a new kindergarten classroom could be created by either retrofitting the music room or the library. The library is the option chosen given strong support for the exceptional music program at Howard, and the fact that the space is larger than TDSB standards. While parents reading this may be against decreasing the size of our library, Howard has no other options as the TDSB and province will not engage in a new build or portables if a school has qualified available space. On the positive side, we will end up with a beautiful new kindergarten room and an enhanced, if slightly smaller, Library space.
The new kindergarten classroom will be built in what is currently the north third of the library. The following changes and upgrades to the space will be made:
- A new sound proof wall will be added to divide the new kindergarten room from the library.
- New flooring, a bathroom and sink will be built into the kindergarten area.
- A glass vestibule / entranceway will be created by the existing internal doors into the area.
- New blinds will be purchased for the library to maximize external light.
- The current library collection of books will be accommodated in a combination of new and existing shelving.
- The three small offices currently on the south west side of the library will be opened up to accommodate the computer lab as well as the library’s SmartBoard.
A small group of volunteers (including Ian Newall, Brian Copeland and myself), have been providing parent input on this project in conjunction with Principal Sardella, our admin team and the TDSB. The goal of this team approach has been to involve all of the stakeholders early on, so as to arrive at a solution that best meets the needs of our kids.
Principal Sardella has requested that the dusty and messy construction work be done during the December break, rather than during instructional time.
With All Day Kindergarten, the kindergarteners will continue to use the kinder fenced-in play area, and a schedule will be created to accommodate the increased numbers. With the kindergarten students remaining at school for the full day, they will eat lunch in their classrooms. One of the proposals is to expand the healthy hot lunch program currently offered to the Howard grade 1-6 students, to the entire school. You can read more about Real Food For Real Kids here.
We will provide additional updates as information is provided. If you have any questions about All Day Kindergarten please contact Principal Sardella, Vice-Principal Wessenger-MacDonald or myself.