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.