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Letter: Kindergarten gradual entry doesn't fit with modern life

Does B.C.'s education system make sense for the way families work and live in 2023?
Family struggles: A two-week kindergarten gradual entry period in New Westminster schools is just one example of the way B.C.'s school system challenges modern parents, this writer says.


I was interested to read your article about gradual entry to kindergarten and the concerns raised by other parents.

As the parent of a two-year-old currently in daycare (in New Westminster), I hear the conversations of other parents having to use all of their vacation for this gradual entry program and dread having to manage it in two years when my daughter starts school.

I find it hard to believe that two weeks are required to introduce children to school; my own daughter's start in daycare at age one was done over a two-day period.

Of course there will be children who need some extra support, but this need not be the default at the inconvenience of all families.

I think this type of program speaks to the larger issue of how education isn't integrated into modern life. More than two-thirds of British Columbia families have two parents working, yet access to daycare and before- and after-school care isn't guaranteed and requires a great deal of time, money and energy to arrange.

The default assumption also seems to be that families have two parents with family support; things are even more difficult for single parents or parents with unconventional work schedules. And finally, there is still a sexist undertone of these programs that assumes that women will be the ones to stay home or take time off work to deal with any schedule disruptions for their kids because they did so in the past.

Of course I want the school board to consider the well-being of children in their schools, but I would hope that they are also able to consider the challenges their families face when having to plan for schedule changes affecting their children.

Diana Whellams

📢 SOUND OFF: Are you a parent in the New Westminster school district? Was/is gradual entry a challenge for your family? Do kindergarten students need a two-week gradual entry period? What could be done to make it easier for families? Share your ideas — send us a letter.

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