Washington is behind the nation in implementing full-day kindergarten (FDK). Nationwide, 65 percent of kindergartners are in full-day programs but in Washington only 47 percent of kindergartners are in FDK. However, only half of those children (22 percent) are in state-funded FDK, despite the requirement that the state provide full-day kindergarten to all kindergartners by 2017-18.[i]
Research finds numerous benefits of full-day kindergarten. Students who attend Full-Day K are more likely to:
- Read and do math at a higher level than their peers who only attended half-day K. In the Evergreen School District, over 90% of the students that attended Full-Day K are reading at or above grade level as measured by the Individual Reading Inventory. Since students in Full-Day K see such large gains, this also helps close the achievement gap.
- Not need to repeat grades. A study done in Philadelphia found that students who attended Full-Day K were more than twice as likely as non-kindergarten students and 26% more likely than half-day K students to make it to the third and fourth grades without having to repeat a grade.
- Be ready and more prepared for the next grade. Students who attend Full-Day K have greater skills when it comes to “independent learning, classroom involvement, productivity in work with peers, and reflectiveness” than their half-day K peers.
Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from Full-Day Kindergarten. In Bremerton, teachers participated in a survey and said that Full-Day K enabled them to identify and address potential learning disabilities in their students. Potentially, finding out whether a student has a learning disability early on could prevent them from having to enroll in a special education program in later grades.
In order to prepare students for the careers of tomorrow, Washington must implement and fund Full-Day Kindergarten. Read more about LEV’s advocacy agenda here. For a more detailed look at the benefits of Full-Day K (with citations), read our white paper.
[i] Foundation for Child Development. PreK-3rd: Putting Full-Day Kindergarten in the Middle. http://fcd-us.org/sites/default/files/FINAL%20Kindergarten%20Brief.pdf; Conversation with OSPI, Dec. 13, 2012.