Letter: The importance of full-day kindergarten
I’m a college student attending Weber State University studying Early Childhood Education. Throughout my schooling I have been able to learn about child development and the education system. Recently I’ve learned about a rising issue in our state regarding the education of our children. Many people may focus their attention on the higher grades as graduation rates increase and students going to college is on the rise. However, our issue remains during the first year of many young pupils’ education, which is kindergarten.
In the state of Utah kindergarten is optional and the options for full-day kindergarten are slim. Many families aren’t even aware that full-kindergarten exists and those who know about it aren’t aware of the benefits of full-day kindergarten.
According to Utahfulldayk.today only 34% of Utah kindergarteners participate in full-day kindergarten. That means 66% of Utah kindergarten students don’t get to benefit from full-day schooling. These children are missing out on the opportunity to strengthen their knowledge and better prepare for elementary school and schooling throughout their lives.
Thankfully there have been bills passed that grant more funding for full-day kindergarten programs, like H.R. 3391 which allows for the Department of Education to make grants and funding for more states to provide full-day kindergarten. However, these bills aren’t common knowledge among the public. Because of this the biggest thing that needs to be done is to educate on full-day kindergarten and the benefits it has on families and children.
According to Voices for Utah Children $59.1 million is needed to fund full-day kindergarten. While this number may seem large at first, the amount of children it would help is even larger. Utah’s children need availability to attend full-day kindergarten so they can further their learning and build on the skills they will use the rest of their lives. Full-day kindergarten has proven to lead to greater academic achievement in grades k-12.
I urge you to present more information on full-day kindergarten and help spread the word about how important it truly is so the legislature will fully fund it and make sure it is a choice for all families.