The Trouble With Raising A Family In Downtown Vancouver4
Downtown living can be absolutely fabulous until it’s time to register your child for kindergarten at the local public school. It turns out that each year more and more people choose to stay and raise their family downtown. However, the Vancouver public school spaces have never caught up to that fact. It’s all about ‘bums in the seat’ when it comes to funding and you can’t pre count those tiny tushes before they are sitting there. Lack of kindergarten spaces in Vancouver is a chronic issue, nearly a decade old, that rears its head annually.
Back when we were busy registering our first child for kindergarten I put so much energy into whether or not he would be accepted by lottery to our neighbourhood school. If he didn’t get a spot in our local catchment, where would he go to school? I most certainly stressed over this issue.
Long story short, he did not get a spot and was at the end of the waitlist. However, we ended up being quite happy with our ‘runner up’ school and have enjoyed our four years there. When it was time for our second child to register for kindergarten we had to start back at square one.
You can read all about our first experience with our first Vancouver school lottery system experience here.
Since our first child was an ‘over flow’ student, the usual sibling priority for registration you’re entitled to at your catchment school does not exist. Even if your child was placed at a Vancouver school due to lack of spaces in your neighbourhood school, siblings have zero priority. Instead you must go through the hoops, register at your catchment school, apply for cross boundary and hope for the best. This is a rather questionable process as all nearby schools are technically considered ‘full’ and do not except cross boundary students.
As a parent you could have a brand new kindergarten student at one school and their sibling could be somewhere else entirely within Vancouver. Not an ideal set up considering the transition into kindergarten includes dropping off in the classroom and picking up at the same spot. How does a family with young children manage that without it being a hardship?
This time around we were randomly lucky. Through the school lottery we got a spot at our local school for kindergarten. However, having two kids at two different schools was not ideal for our family at all. Today we heard that our cross boundary application for Josie was, amazingly, approved. We will have two kids at the same school and we all couldn’t be more happy. This could have played out in so many different ways and we were lucky it worked out the way it did.
Downtown Vancouver has just opened its third regular elementary school, there is a K-3 Annex attached to one of the schools, in the downtown core. Apparently there will be three kindergarten classrooms at the new school and the spots for next year are all currently filled.