Plans for full-day kindergarten for Newfoundland and Labrador's youngest students are moving ahead, but not without recognizing the pressure that the added pupils could place on the education system.
Education Minister Darin King said on Wednesday that plans are in motion so that the province's schools and its teachers would be able to handle the increase in students — though it's not clear exactly how many students will be enrolled.
King said 190 schools in the province are needed for the full-day kindergarten model.
About 160 of those schools are already able to handle the influx of students, King said.
"Of the 30 schools remaining, at least a dozen or so will need additional classroom space added to the school, through either modular class rooms or an extension to the facility," he said.
King said that his department will continue to conduct site visits at schools across the province this year.
"Particularly where we know capacity issues exist, to determine both the short-term and long-term needs of schools," he said.
King said there are at least 20 schools around the province that still need a finalized capacity needs assessment.
Two teachers in some classrooms
The influx of young students into the full-day kindergarten system will also mean that there could be more teachers in the classroom.
In some cases, King said there may be two teachers assigned to a full-day kindergarten classroom, while keeping a ratio of 14 students for every teacher.
"A maximum of 28 students in any particular setting," King said.
"And I want to reiterate that if we do that, it will be a short-term solution."
Jim Dinn, the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association, said his organization has no objection to two teachers per classroom, as long as it's a temporary measure.
King said 140 new teaching positions will be added under the new model.