All-day K program to connect parents, teachers | Mukilteo Schools

By Dr. Marci Larsen, Superintendent | Apr 05, 2017

In last month’s column, I mentioned that we will begin to offer full-day kindergarten sessions for all kindergarten students in our school district beginning next fall. Now is the time for parents to register those students who will be attending those full-day classes.

The traditional model has been for us to offer half-day kindergarten sessions, with some students going to morning classes and others going in the afternoon. But, several years ago, the state began to provide funding for full-day kindergarten sessions, instead.

Kindergarten has become a critical part of any young student’s career in school. It literally sets the stage for the learning he or she will experience for the rest of their lives.

As a result, we have had a strong desire to offer full-day kindergarten for our students. Problem was, it takes twice as many classrooms to offer full-day sessions as compared with half-day sessions, and with our growing elementary enrollment, we simply didn’t have enough classrooms available.

The voters solved that problem three years ago when they approved the money to construct the new Pathfinder Kindergarten Center, which is now coming along very nicely and will be a great addition to our school district when it opens in September.

The new school will provide classroom space for about 550 kindergarten students, while another 500 or so will attend full-day sessions in their neighborhood schools.

Our transition to full-day kindergarten will include added help for the students and their parents in the form of a process that will help ensure that the start of their K-12 experience will be successful. Called the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills, or WaKIDS, it provides a connection between the school and the student’s family, includes a way for assessing each child’s developing skills, and has a component where early-learning professionals work to improve student learning.

For example, through WaKIDS, the first three days of the school year will be set aside as a time when parents will meet individually with their child’s kindergarten teacher. It will be a time when the parents will form a connection with the school and have a chance to talk freely with the teacher about their child’s strengths and needs, and how they can work together to help make their child be successful in school.

Later in the year, the WaKIDS process will include a chance for the teacher to assess each child’s developing skills in six areas: social-emotional, physical, cognitive, language, literacy and mathematics.

If you have a child who will be five years old on or before Aug. 31, or if you know of a child who is that age, please get him or her registered for next year’s kindergarten classes.

The thing about kindergarteners is that we have no way of knowing that they’re out there until they actually register. It helps with our planning in hiring the right number of teachers and arranging for enough classrooms if kindergarteners are registered as early as possible.

To register a child for kindergarten, go to your neighborhood school any school day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. When you go, take with you verification of the child’s birth date, verification of your address (such as a utility bill or lease agreement), the names and phone numbers of emergency contacts, and an up-to-date immunization record.

For more details, check our website at www.mukilteo.wednet.edu or call our elementary education office at 425-356-1209.

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