2 students look on as 1 student reads from an orientation booklet

It was a highlight day on the Oak Bay-based Junior School campus today, May 5, as families attended Kindergarten orientation ahead of their September 2024 start. Even more special, today marked an important day for St. Michaels University School's first-ever Junior Kindergarten class, who were able to take part in Kindergarten Orientation.

“It’s a really historic moment for this school,” said Becky Anderson, Director of Junior School. “Seeing our Junior Kindergarten students feel so confident and seeing how capable they are already just shows us that what we were hoping and dreaming for and planning for over the years has really come to fruition and we are really excited about it.”

Celebrating the transition

In September 2022 it was first announced that SMUS would introduce a Junior Kindergarten program. The inaugural cohort started in September 2023 and featured six three-year olds in the Sandpiper room and 10 four-year olds in the Heron room.

“We are based on a West Coast Reggio philosophy with lots of nature integrated into our learning curriculum,” highlighted Junior Kindergarten teacher Angela Ireland. “Their self-concept, self-esteem and sense of self has blossomed over the last 10 months. It’s so wonderful to compare when they first stepped into the classroom to now where they are ready and so eager to learn reading, writing and explore their curriculum as they head into their Junior School journey.”

In September 2024 the program will expand to include eight three-year olds and 15 four-year olds as the current Heron room class makes the jump to Kindergarten and the current Sandpiper students move up to Heron.

A warm welcome to Kindergarten families

Junior Kindergarten four-year olds were joined today by several new families during Kindergarten orientation. All of the future Kindergarten students were introduced to current Kindergarten students and the whole group had a chance to explore and play in the Kindergarten classrooms with teachers. Meanwhile, parents and family members had the chance to hear more about what to expect ahead of next Fall and meet the Kindergarten educators and Junior School staff.

“So much at the Junior School starts right away with our Kindergarten Orientation, supporting children with an immediate sense of belonging and setting them up for success for their first days at the Junior School,” added Anderson, who welcomed all the families with a SMUS teddy bear, a fitting connection as just last week SMUS Grade 12 students capped the end of their SMUS journey with the annual Grad Bear Toss.

For more information on the SMUS Junior School program for three- and four-year olds or the SMUS Junior School program for students from Kindergarten to Grade 5, please visit our admissions website.