This is an opportunity for ordinary people to be heard.
We asked six people to be our citizen commentators during the campaign. Each chose an issue they believe in passionately. You'll hear from them between now and the week of the election, and we encourage you to react by adding your comments.
Chris Chuckry is a self-employed, work-at-home dad, who tries to keep his business and family life peacefully cohabiting in close quarters and odd hours.
September 30, 2011
Children allow you to vicariously relive parts of your own childhood. You're able to revisit those moments in your past that correspond to your own child's experiences. Personally, this hit home when our oldest child was ready to start school.
I recalled my Grade 1 experience -- there was no kindergarten on the reserve where I grew up. The school bus would take me to the far end of the community, to the Grade 1 building. It wasn't until years later that a large centralized school was built, a school that could hold all the students; a school with a gymnasium, a science lab and other amenities that most of us take for granted. However, a funny thing happened after Grade 1 -- my parents moved me to another school.
The new school was outside of our community, located on a nearby Canadian Forces radar base. For six-year-old me, it was a big change. An anxiety-inducing change that I didn't understand at first. Decades later, I was surprised to find myself transferring my own son between schools for similar reasons.
When our oldest son was ready for kindergarten, we considered the two neighborhood schools. One is an english school, and the other is a french immersion centre. My wife had a great experience as a french immersion student, and she envisioned the same experience for our children. So, we decided to enroll our son in french immersion. He loved kindergarten and thrived. Much of this was due to his teacher, a woman with considerable experience and mastery of her profession. We were quite happy with the choice we had made.
Things began to change however, once Grade 1 got underway. The changes were subtle at first then became somewhat alarming. Our son, who used to love going to school, began to lose his enthusiasm. I remember taking him late to school, after a medical checkup, and realized he was walking slower and slower as we approached his classroom. Later in the year, my wife volunteered in his class and we quickly realized that the school was not the best fit for him. Things might have improved for him in Grade 2 but we didn't want to take the chance. We took advantage of an opportunity to transfer him to another school, outside of our community and school division.
My parents transferred me to another school for a more challenging education. We transferred our son to another school to find a better environment for him, so he could have a more successful school experience. He did leave friends behind but he made new ones. I have no doubt that kids at his former school had a great experience there. I'm not writing off the community school but I do like the schools of choice program.
Next time I'll discuss the reasons our kids don't attend the neighborhood school and why I hope things change.
Thanks for stopping by.