Full-day kindergarten on the menu in Tacoma

March 3, 2008 | Aaron Keating

The last several decades have seen an abundance of research stressing the importance of the early years of a child’s education and extolling the benefits of quality early learning initiatives. Full-day kindergarten is one such initiative.

Despite the fact that full-day kindergarten results in increased academic achievement and school readiness for participants, fewer than half of incoming kindergarten students are prepared for the challenges of the classroom.

So kudos to the Tacoma School District, which recently voted to make full-day kindergarten available to every one of its students. As the News Tribune succinctly puts it:

If you want smarter high school graduates, you’d better start feeding students bigger doses of reading, writing, math and even coloring right from the start, Tacoma school officials believe.

So starting this fall, free all-day kindergarten will be on the menu at every public school in the city.

Tacoma will reap positive, long-term economic benefits for individuals and society, and gain immediate returns for families, schools, and the bottom line, as fewer students will require remediation services in later grades or be retained in a lower grade level.

Meanwhile, Washington State is poised to stop funding expansion of full-day kindergarten statewide, despite the state’s middling national ranking (26th overall) for state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States.

The state misses 4 of 10 benchmarks for early learning standards, education and training requirements for early childhood teachers, and classroom size.

For more on the prospects for – and benefits of – full-day kindergarten in Washington State, take a look at EOI’s The Full Story on Full-Day.

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Posted in Education

Comments

  1. emma casson says:

    I have been in the US for 3 years now, having moved here from the UK. My son was born on the wrong side of the school cut off date being in early November and we have had nothing but struggles with the school/preschool system. Now that he will be old enough for Kindergarten (bear in mind he will be 6 years old 8 weeks after school starts), we have been told that after a lottery draw for FUll-Day K, he did not get picked.
    Add to this the fact that in the UK he would have started school at 4 years old (and yes – we all coped with full days at that age) 2hours and 40minutes of education for my son is just not acceptable to us.
    My reason for writing is that I feel that something needs to be done; and it is not just that I have a different perspective coming from the UK – we are number 11 on the wait list for full-day K – and all the other schools in the district, and next door districts too, are all in the same position. Why oh why is there no support for FUll Day schooling/education at this age. This age is so absorbing and ready to learn. Why waste these precious years out of school.
    As for those who talk about letting kids be kids etc – they still get to be kids in school – but they are ready to take on the world in a global marketplace. If myself and my husband were not in the position to look at alternatives, my son would be without a full days education until he were 8 weeks shy of being 7. Now that is just not acceptable and is should be considered an embarrassment by those that condone it.

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