French Immersion line-up to return

After two years without a line-up, the number of parents wanting the program exceeds the number of available spaces.

Worth the wait: Cheryl Peterson

Worth the wait: Cheryl Peterson

The line up will be back.

Parents wanting to register their children in the popular early French Immersion program at Bastion Elementary will be have to participate in the first-come-first-served wait to gain entry.

While line-ups for the program have been in excess of 48 hours in previous years, for the past two years demand for the program waned slightly. This meant parents who wanted to register their child were able to attend an information meeting and sign up without spending hard time waiting, often outdoors, to get in.

This year, however, the number of parents interested in the kindergarten immersion program exceeded the number of available spaces, so the the North Okanagan-Shuswap school district is reverting to the previous system.

The numbers for the Grade 6 Late Immersion program at Shuswap Middle School, however, worked out, and none of those parents will need to wait. Registration for those older students proceeded immediately.

There have been complaints in the past that the line-up can be onerous on families who want to access the program, as only the parents or direct relatives of the potential student can be in line and spaces are not held. This means parents often have been forced to camp out, sometime longer than two nights, to ensure their child gets a space. It can be an added burden on single parents or those who can not get time off work.

But the school district has struggled with the best method for registration and say a lottery system has been more widely panned by parents, many of whom say they would rather wait and earn a spot than take their chances that their child’s name would be drawn from a hat.

Parents only have to do the wait for their first child, as once a space is awarded, any subsequent siblings are automatically given entry into the program.

Due to sibling registration this year, 26 of the 40 kindergarten spaces have been filled, leaving 14 spaces open to new registrants. At Tuesday’s meeting, there were 24 families wanting to enrol their child.

Registration for the program is set for 7 a.m. on April 5 at the District Education Support Centre on Shuswap Street.