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Castlegar’s Russian kindergarten program in jeopardy due to low enrolment

The program didn’t run in the current school year due to low numbers
Children playing at the Twin Rivers Castlegar Primary playground. Photo: Betsy Kline

Castlegar’s Russian Language and Culture (RLC) Program at the Castlegar Primary/Twin Rivers Elementary School may be in jeopardy if enrolment numbers don’t increase.

The program that at one time had parents camping out overnight just to make sure their kindergartener would get a space didn’t even run this year due to low enrolment.

Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 is trying to revive interest by creating a new pamphlet explaining the program and hosting an information night back in January.

As of mid-March, 10 students had enrolled for the 2024/2025 school year.

“If we do not have sufficient enrollment we will not run a Russian K or K/1 class for the 2024-2025 school year,” Superintendent Katherine Shearer told Castlegar News.

“Discussion on the future of the program will need to be considered if there is not enough community interest to sustain the program.”

The RLC program follows the B.C. curriculum in English, plus integrated daily Russian language exposure through routines, themes, and occasions.

SD20 says it is an opportunity for students to become familiar with reading and writing in Russian as well as speaking using common words and expressions.

It also offerings a connection to the local Doukhobor cultural history and community through performing arts and field trips.

RLC is open to any student in the district and bussing will be provided from a specified access point within the district.

If you are interested in enrolling your child, you should do so soon.

There are 20 student placements available for the RLC kindergarten/grade one program. This is a legislated class size that cannot be exceeded. If there are more than 20 applicants, the 20 seats will be filled by a lottery draw.

SD20 says it is important to register for program bussing before the spring deadline to be guaranteed a seat. For transportation questions, information is available on the district website’s transportation page or by calling 250-365-8331.

For questions about RLC email

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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