Nova Scotia

Pre-primary's arrival mixed blessing for Fairview elementary school

The creation of as many as three pre-primary classes at Fairview Heights Elementary School means older students will be forced out of the building and into portable classrooms next fall.

Adding three pre-primary classes will force school to add portable classrooms

Lisa Muise, a former volunteer at Fairview Heights Elementary School, doesn't think pre-primary classes should displace existing classes. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

Fairview Heights Elementary School in Halifax may have as many as three pre-primary classes next fall, which is good news for the parents of those children.

But it may be bad news for those who have children in the upper grades. They will be forced out of the school's main building and into portable classrooms.

Anita Parker, whose two grandchildren attend the school, doesn't like portables. She recalls being taught in one when she was a student.

'It's not a good thing'

"We felt like we were away from the rest of the school," she said. "It was like the kids didn't want to play with us because we were in the mobiles."

Lisa Muise, who volunteered at the school when her son and daughter attended, doesn't think pre-primary classes should displace existing classes.

"It's not a good thing when we're taking classrooms away from our students who need to learn," she says.

Fairview Heights Elementary School and its annex will have to make some adjustments to accommodate pre-primary classes this fall. (Jean Laroche/CBC)
Tony White has two daughters in the school. He also has some concerns about the new arrangement.

"I think that there should have been a little bit more selection, like a little bit more to the selection process perhaps to find schools that wouldn't be inconvenienced by it," he said. "But I don't think it's entirely terrible that they end up in portables." 

Other schools were considered

Doug Hadley, the Halifax Regional Centre for Education spokesperson, said other schools were considered.

"School space is at a premium in this area," he wrote in an email. "For example, there are five portables currently at Park West School.

"To offer pre-primary at any of the schools in the immediate area would require portables to match the anticipated number of registrations."

According to Hadley, there are 46 students already registered for pre-primary at Fairview Heights and overall enrolment at the school is expected to grow by 10 next year to 349 students.

The school's annex on Rufus Street (Jean Laroche/CBC)
Although the pre-primary classes will be housed in the school's annex on Rufus Avenue, the arrival of the new students will have a domino effect.

Officials are looking at moving the Grade 2 students out of that building to the main one located a block up the street. Some Grade 1 students could also be moved, Hadley said.

Their arrival will displace most of the Grade 5 and Grade 6 students. They will be be placed in portable classrooms to be installed this summer.

Not everyone is upset with the change. Jordon Lloyd, whose son is a student in the annex, is taking it in stride.

"Every school that I ever attended had portables as well with it so I'm not against it in any sort of way." he said.