Seamless Day Kindergarten Benefits Students, Families

November 29, 2022

Parkside Centennial Elementary Kindergarten teacher Alana Stockwell plays a game with two of the school’s Seamless Day Kindergarten students.

A pilot program that aims to ease families’ transition between daycare and Kindergarten is thriving in the District, helping young learners become more comfortable in a school setting while also providing relief and comfort for families.  

So far, the Seamless Day Kindergarten program operates at Nicomekl Elementary and Parkside Centennial Elementary. Students in the program are dropped off at their respective schools at 7:15 a.m., and before school begins, they spend time working with an early childhood educator (ECE) in their Kindergarten classroom. 

When school starts, the early childhood educator (ECE) stays in the classroom throughout the morning to support the teacher, and in the afternoon, a different ECE arrives to work with the students, staying with them until 5:30 p.m., at which time they are picked up by a parent or guardian.  

The program, said Parkside Centennial Kindergarten teacher Alana Stockwell, “aims to provide students with a seamless transition between before and after school care, and their school day.” 

“Students love coming to Seamless Day,” continued Stockwell, who works with ECEs Candace Drinkle and Trish Brown in her classroom. “They get to build a really strong connection with their teacher, like myself, but also the early childhood educators who are working in the classroom as well.  

“They get to be in the classroom before the rest of their class, and after school they get to do some really individualized exploring with fewer kids in the room, which is great.” 

 At Parkside Centennial Elementary, students have spent their before and after school time on the playground, inside playing board games, baking and conducting fun science experiments with their teachers.   

Thanks to funding from the Ministry of Education, Nicomekl’s Seamless Day program began last school year, with Parkside Centennial’s starting this past September.  

For students, there are plenty of benefits to the program. 

“The transitions are easier for children, especially when they are anxious,” said Kindergarten teacher Colleen Sturrock, who works alongside early childhood educators Ellen Lee and Abha Bhaita at Nicomekl Elementary. 

“The children benefit from the positive and strong relationships they build with the ECE teachers. The children feel comfortable, safe, and supported all day.” 

Families, meanwhile, benefit from knowing that their child is in one place for the duration of the day and is being cared for by qualified professionals.  

“For families, it gives them a lot of peace of mind,” said Parkside Centennial Elementary principal Diana Wilk. “They know that they’re being cared for by early childhood educators, they know that their kids are in one spot, and they aren’t worried about somebody driving their child from one place to another.  

“And just to have the reassurance that the people in this building know their child, and we’re with them in that time.”  

The collaborative approach between teachers and early childhood educators has also been a welcome one for staff, as having an extra adult in the classroom has allowed the young students to have learning opportunities that they perhaps otherwise would not have.  

“It’s collaborative and cooperative. We learn from each other. We are constantly communicating and making plans to best support the children,” said Sturrock. “We are able to provide opportunities and experiences for children in the classroom that may not be possible without that extra teacher in the room.” 

The rewards from that type of approach are easy to see, Stockwell said, adding that as a teacher, it’s easy to see “the excitement of the students” who are in the Seamless Day program.  

“On days when kids are ill or not able to come for whatever reason, they’re really disappointed because they love coming to the school early, getting that extra little bit of time with their teachers and ECEs. They’re super excited every single day that I get in here, which is really cool to see,” added Stockwell.