SASKATOON -- Saskatoon Public Schools (SPS) will be offer some full-day programs for Kindergarten and pre-Kindergarten students starting in September.

Full-day pre-Kindergarten will be offered at 13 schools from Monday to Thursday, while Monday-to-Thursday Kindergarten will be offered at 14 schools.

SPS said in a news release that pre-Kindergarten classes can help children with language and communication, problem-solving skills, learning to cooperate with others and preparing for the school environment.

“More time for students to explore, to wonder, to play. When I say play, there really is a lot of learning that can happen when children are playing. It allows for social development,” said Trish Reeve, superintendent of education with Saskatoon Public Schools in an interview.

Reeve said that this is a five year program launched with the help of the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation.

Five different schools tested out full-day learning this school year and they were thrilled with the results and feedback.

“When we talked to principals, we talked to teachers, we’ve talked to families. They’re really excited about the growth they’ve seen in students and the peer engagement as well,” Reeve said.

Amanda Brindley has a daughter who is just finishing Kindergarten and was in one of those five schools that tested out the full-day learning this year.

She said when they were told about the change to her daughter’s schooling, she was initially a bit concerned with how things would play out.

Going from two or three days a week to full on all day every day is a big change for a little person, but she did really well. It is a great option, especially for people who have to pay for child care,” Brindley said.

“It’s huge, especially the cost of child care being so high. Having two extra days full time, for me it was a life saver. I run my own business, so not having to have my daughter with me I could be way more productive.”

Brindley said all the extra time at school has helped her daughter get a leg up on her education, and she is reading at a Grade 2 level now as she prepares to enter Grade 1.

Schools offering full-day learning programs for both Kindergarten and pre-Kindergarten include: Caroline Robins, Caswell, Fairhaven, Howard Coad, Kind George, Lester B. Pearson, Mayfair, Pleasant Hill, Princess Alexandra, Sutherland, Vincent Massey, wâhkôhtowin (formerly Confederation Park), and W.P. Bate.

Full-day Kindergarten will also be available at North Park Wilson School.

A full-day pre-Kindergarten class supported by Métis Nation–Saskatchewan is offered at Westmount Community School.

Families wanting to register should contact the individual school.