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Peter Lagacy is the president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association. Image: Submitted/New Brunswick Teachers' Association

Concern from teachers over added learning time

By Brad Perry Apr 1, 2024 | 5:40 AM

There is some concern from New Brunswick teachers over plans to add additional learning time for the province’s youngest students.

Starting in September, the school day for kindergarten to Grade 2 students across the province is being extended by one hour.

This means the province’s youngest students will now have the same dismissal time as those in Grades 3 to 8.

“This was a key priority for government during the last round of negotiations,” Peter Lagacy, president of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association, said in an interview.

“I think one of the most immediate concerns is just making sure the schools have the collaboration and the planning time to put all of this into place, similar to the 17 schools who had participated in the research project did.”

RELATED: More classroom time for K-2 students

Ten anglophone and seven francophone schools across the province have already been getting an extra hour of instructional time each day since the 2017-18 school year.

According to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, initial results showed that adding an extra hour of instruction is beneficial for student learning and well-being.

“There were some minimum standards brought in and some additional staff, some additional prep time to allow some of these changes to take place, and some flexibility as well within the schools to allow them to plan,” said Lagacy.

As New Brunswick faces a looming teacher shortage, Lagacy said it is important to ensure there are enough qualified teachers in place to make the extra learning time worth it.

“This additional hour, for me, it’s a question of quantity over quality. Simply having more instructional time without having qualified teachers to teach students may be a wasted effort.”