Pity Nathalie Lacroix-Maillette. The Royal Vale Academy principal came to work Monday morning only to be greeted by dozens of parents who were short on sleep after spending an entire weekend camping outside on school grounds so they could secure their children coveted spots in kindergarten.
“It’s once a year, fortunately,” she said to Global News, laughing. “This is an exceptional day.”
Parents started camping out Friday night for one of 29 spots in the school, which is one of only two “zone-free” schools in the English Montreal School Board — it doesn’t offer bus service and it isn’t tied to a geographic zone.
The parents who go through the process of camping out actually say it is rewarding.
“It makes the community stronger,” said Maxime Dufour, who was waiting in shifts with his partner. “You know the parents because over the past three days you’ve been camping with them.”
Lacroix-Maillette said there is often talk of switching the procedure to a lottery, but said the parents themselves are often the ones who don’t want the system to change.