North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Quil Ceda Village - Favorite Neighborhood Stores

State funds all-day kindergarten


This is the first school year that kindergarten will be free and all-day in all public elementary schools in the state of Washington.

“With full-day kindergarten it just allows teachers to teach to the whole child. It’s not just about math and literacy skills now, but the emotional and social skills that are just as important for a successful student,” said Terri Bookey, director of early learning and categorical programs for the Arlington School District.

Both the Marysville and Arlington school districts had some kindergarten classes funded in previous years by the state, and funded others themselves.

Last year Arlington School District had three of its elementary schools’ kindergartens funded by the state and one with money from their general fund.

“During the 2014-15 school year, we had a number of schools that qualified for state-funded free all-day kindergarten,” said Emily Wicks, coordinator of communications and community relations for the Marysville School District.

Cascade Elementary didn’t qualify that year. “Since it is one of our highest poverty schools, the district funded all-day kindergarten for this school with local levy dollars,” she said.

Last year, almost all of Marysville’s schools were covered. Only Marshall Co-Op didn’t qualify, but that school was covered by local levy dollars again.

The Washington state legislature made a commitment a few years ago to fully fund kindergarten, said Bookey, and have been rolling out the funds for that promise over the last few years.

She said the legislature wanted to ensure a full-day kindergarten because “the research is very clear about early learning in children being important to development,” she said.

Over the last few years more and more schools have been getting funded.

“The state provided funds for schools on a sliding scale, poverty being the number one assessment for schools receiving these funds,” said Wicks.

“This year, however, is the first year the state is funding all-day kindergarten at all of our schools and we no longer need to fill gaps with levy dollars,” she said.

In Arlington, before all-day kindergarten, kindergarten classes were two days a week and every other Friday.

“That was a real issue because if we had a Monday off, sometimes the students wouldn’t come to school for five days,” she said.

It was also a problem for parents as well who had a more uneven schedule and would have to deal more with daycare.

Bookey said that the Arlington School District is already seeing the positive effects from last year’s students.

“We’ve seen good things already for this year’s kinder students who are going into first grade. They are off to a much better start and that’s evident in their confidence and oral skills,” she said.

All-day kindergarten helps develop personal skills and problem-solving skills.

The extra time allows for a better array of activities, and time for them to choose their own activities, said Bookey.

“That allows them to be more of an independent learner,” she said.

Wicks said the district was glad to provide all-day kindergarten when it was needed.

“Our district is incredibly proud that we have been able to provide equity for our students by ensuring each one has access to free all-day kindergarten. We’re thankful to our voters for filling in the gaps when needed, and to the state for making this a priority for the Marysville School District and school districts across state,” she said.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018

Rendered 08/15/2018 11:41