The River East Transcona School Division doesn’t provide full-time nursery school programming, but the RETSD still offers plenty of free learning opportunities for children up to the age of five.
The division’s early learning team plans a plethora of both regular programming and one-time events to engage young people in the division’s catchment area from birth until students enter kindergarten.
Thirteen different multi-week programs are offered as part of the division’s winter programming, while three different one-day events are also slated. The multi-week programs are often run in at least two locations on different days to maximize accessibility for local families. As well, the team runs regular drop-in programs for kids and parents.
"The early years are important years, and of course, we want our earliest learners to be involved in activities," said RETSD community initiatives manager Kim Campbell. "We build on those activities, too, as they enter kindergarten as they come into our schools."
Community programming co-ordinator Kelly Martino explained the division has worked to greatly expand its offerings in the past year, which is a result, in part, of ideas gathered from its parent advisory group.
Martino explained Animal Crackers, for children aged two-and-a-half to five, is one new program that’s been well-received. The eight-week program introduces a new animal to kids each week through stories, activities, and crafts.
As well, the division is offering Shake, Rattle & Rhyme, an eight-week program where kids will sing, dance, and play instruments like maracas, cymbals, drums, and tambourines.
The new programs are full with waiting lists, and Campbell said the division will do its best to accommodate more families with extra sessions in the future. The next Kinder Links newsletter with spring programming offerings will come out in early March, with registration beginning Mar. 22.
"We’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of our programs full with waiting lists," Campbell said. "It’s an indicator to us that I guess we’re doing something right, and we’re excited to have new things for the children and the parents to come to."
Families are able to get involved in two upcoming one-night events, though. The Great Snow Ball is slated for Jan. 16 from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. at Joseph Teres School (131 Sanford Fleming Rd.). The event, weather permitting, will feature 10 different winter-themed stations offering kids the opportunity to work on math, literacy, and art skills.
For the winter session, there is still space available in the Jack Be Nimble program for kids aged three to five at the Melrose Park Community Centre (480 Kimberly Ave.) for the Thursday session from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. The program builds literacy while encouraging motion through activities like stretches and parachute rhyme time.
As well, the Thursday session of 1, 2, Buckle My Shoe held from 9:30 to 11:15 a.m. at Hampstead School (920 Hampstead Ave.) has space. The program builds math skills through books and songs. Lastly, the Thursday afternoon session of Hey Diddle Diddle at Emerson Elementary School, which runs from 1:30 to 3 p.m., can accommodate families. The program, which runs from Feb. 6 to 27, brings traditional nursery rhymes to life through art and interactive circle time.
To register for space in any program with availability, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 204-669-4043.
For more information on the division’s preschool offerings, visit http://www.retsd.mb.ca/Preschool/Pages/default.aspx