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Kids playing at Children First Society in Inuvik. The town’s elementary school will offer half-day junior kindergarten this September to lessen the impact on the Children First Society. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC) Inuvik’s elementary school will offer half-day junior kindergarten this September to lessen the impact on the Children First Society.

Earlier this year, parents lobbied for junior kindergarten to be held at Children First , which is a daycare and education facility that already has programming for three and four year olds, rather than at East Three School. The territorial government has mandated that communities across the N.W.T. must offer junior kindergarten for the 2017/2018 school year, but it’s up to the schools if they want to offer a full day or half-day program.

Now, the Inuvik Education Authority has opted to offer half-day classes, and Children First will adjust its programming for parents who want to enroll their children in both. Patricia Davison, executive director of Children First Society, says the society has made changes to accommodate parents who want to enrol students in their program and junior kindergarten. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC) Lesa Semmler, chair of the local education authority, said they have had ongoing communication with Children First.

"We are a small community, we need to work together… so [children] may be coming here for half the day or be going there for the other half the day," said Semmler.

East Three Secondary is expecting about 120 kindergarten and junior kindergarten students this year. The school has hired two teachers to teach four half-day junior kindergarten classes.

"They’ll teach a class of 15," said Semmler.

"The morning classes have filled up and now we are encouraging people with children to register their children so we can plan appropriately the staffing."

Semmler said there will be no French or Inuvialuktun immersion programs offered for the first year of junior kindergarten. She said they’ll look at those programs for future years. Changes at Children First

Patricia Davison, executive director of Children First Society, says they’ve made changes to accommodate parents who want students in both programs, including programs that will work around the junior kindergarten schedule.

"Children First mandate is to support the children and programming of Inuvik… We have program segments for four year olds that we didn’t necessarily have before," said Davison.

"It was really excellent to know that the community still supports us in that capacity."

Davison says they usually have 80 students enrolled in their programs, and it appears those numbers will be maintained going into the new school year.

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