04-24-14: Full-day kindergarten expands this fall to all elementary schools
04-24-14: Full-day kindergarten expands this fall to all elementary schools
Posted on 04/24/2014

All kindergarten programs in the Puyallup School District will be a full day of school beginning this fall.


The school board unanimously agreed on March 4 to implement free, full-day kindergarten in each of the district’s 21 elementary schools.


ImageThe full-day program is already offered this year at Firgrove, Spinning, and Stewart elementary schools, and it will replace half-day programs that exist at the other 18 schools.


“The full-day kindergarten program will offer enriched, expanded learning opportunities for all students and prepare students for better success in later grades,” said Chrys Sweeting, assistant superintendent of instruction, learning, curriculum, and assessment.


The state of Washington, which is moving toward offering full-day kindergarten at every school statewide by 2018, funds full-day kindergarten this year at select schools that have high percentages of students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals.


Firgrove, Spinning, and Stewart qualified for that full-day kindergarten state funding this year and have nearly 200 students enrolled among the three schools combined.


Funding for the remaining 18 elementary school full-day kindergarten programs will come from a combination of state Learning Assistance Program (LAP) funds and money approved by voters in the February 11, 2014 school levy election.


Proposition 2 — the six-year School Facility Improvements and Technology Upgrades Levy — includes funding to modify elementary school buildings to support full-day kindergarten classes.Image


“Having the available funding for full-day kindergarten allows us to accelerate the state’s timeline and offer the program this fall,” Sweeting said. “Research reveals that children participating in developmentally appropriate, full-day kindergarten make greater gains both socially and academically.”


Director of Instructional Leadership Lisa Nolan added, “The full-day program can be a game changer for so many of our students. It gives twice as much time for students to be engaged in learning, develop social skills, and create even stronger partnerships with our families.”


Moving to a full-day kindergarten program districtwide will also result in a substantial savings for families in childcare costs, said Superintendent Tim Yeomans.


Historically, the Puyallup School District offered full-day kindergarten twice before, but for a fee. The district offered the program at seven elementary schools in 2003-04 school year and at nine schools in the 2008-09 school year.


“This is a great time to get it back in all of our schools,” said Puyallup School Board Vice President Pat Donovan. 


Kindergarten registration opens March 18 for the 2014-15 school year. Learn more about kindergarten registration.


Parents or guardians who have questions about the full-day kindergarten program may contact their elementary school principal or the Puyallup School District administration office at 253-841-1301.


Benefits of full-day kindergarten


Research shows numerous benefits to a full-day kindergarten program, said Lisa Nolan, director of instructional leadership in the Puyallup School District. Those benefits include the following.


• Children who attend full-day kindergarten learn more in reading and math over the kindergarten year than those in half-day programs.


• Children in full-day kindergarten programs receive 40-50 percent more instruction than children enrolled in half-day kindergarten programs. More instructional time in full-day kindergarten allows for increased learning activities and strategies such as group read-aloud, peer tutoring, mixed-ability grouping, and child-initiated activities.


• Children who attend full-day kindergarten spend 30 percent more time on reading and literacy instruction and 46 percent more time on mathematics than children in half-day programs.


• Full-day kindergartners exhibit more independent learning, classroom involvement, productivity in work with peers, and reflectiveness than half-day kindergartners.


• Full-day kindergarten allows for a more consistent schedule for children and reduces the ratio of transition time to class time, reducing stress for children.


• Parents of children in full-day kindergarten report higher levels of satisfaction with their children’s schedule and curriculum and the program’s support for working families.


Source: Lisa Nolan, director of instructional leadership in the Puyallup School District, provided the above information from a collection of educational journal articles, brochures, and other research.