Spokane schools pushing for all-day kindergarten

SPOKANE, Wash. - There is a big push underway to provide all-day kindergarten at every Spokane public school, a plan which deviates from the normal half day program for kindergarteners.

While the district cites educational and social benefits from full-days some parents are still skeptical at the concept, which is not new. In fact, of the Spokane school district's 34 elementary schools 15 are already operating with all-day kindergarten, and they're eying seven more to be added to that list by fall.

"Research shows that a full-day kindergarten program provides students a great start to their elementary school experience," Linda McDermott, ex-Dir of Finance for Spokane Public Schools, said.

All day kindergarten

Spokane Public Schools argues all-day kindergarten better prepares five and six-year-olds for first grade and beyond. They have plenty of parents on their side.

"I think it's important for our kids to have education, the more education they get the better off they are in the long run," Jennifer Ferguson.

Ferguson sought out a school with all-day kindergarten for her daughters. She noticed right away her oldest thrived, somehow picking up cursive, becoming more social and showing better problem solving skills.

Other parents echoed the same praise for all-day kindergarten on our Facebook page, but the proposal isn't without opposition.

Stacie Skiles wrote, "My daughter did all day and it was so hard for her. She took naps on her own at her desk. It's not a good idea."

"I as a taxpayer disagree with full day kindergarten so parents have day care. I believe that half day is plenty for a child that small," Jennifer Lynn Gandy-McCain wrote.

"I don't understand why someone would not want more education, more time in school for their children," Ferguson said.

Arguments among parents not likely to stop Spokane Public Schools from pursuing district-wide all-day kindergarten. However, Olympia might. Legislators are heading into a special session because they couldn't come up with a budget. They're still tasked with fully funding K-12 education, including all-day kindergarten statewide. They have until 2018 to do it.

"No guarantees at this point but certainly planning with the hopes of having the resources to do at least seven (schools)," McDermott said.

Despite the slowdown in Olympia, Spokane Public Schools is still moving full steam ahead on their plan, working out logistics like classroom space and teachers.