The Foothills School Division has made helping students in junior kindergarten and kindergarten a priority so they find success when they get to elementary school.

The division is helping its youngest children who are having significant difficulties through criteria set by Alberta Education and it is paid for from the program unit funding.

Director of Early Learning, Cathy Fielden told the FSD Board at a recent meeting they are making progress in areas of early intervention.

Fielden says they are helping children who are having significant difficulties.

"They have a learning team with speech and language therapists, occupational therapist and behavioural consultants depending on what they need," said Fielden.

The program also has a learning coach and educational assistant time and they are helping about 33 students in the junior kindergarten and 55 in the kindergarten.

"It is very effective and very helpful because the younger a child is when they have these needs and they get the right kinds of supports, the best gains they are going to make is when they are young."

Fielden says the recent numbers of students needing help in High River are on the high side, although she is not sure why.

"We do know that those children were born the year of the flood. We are not sure if there has been some trauma that has affected their development or been part of impacting their skill development."

There are 18 students in Spitzee School and nine in Joe Clark in the kindergarten classes that are getting extra help and the normal numbers should be around three or four for each school.

To check on kindergarten registration dates go to the Foothills School Division Website.

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