Support Push For All-Day Kindergarten

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Arizona's governor has made expanding all-day kindergarten in low-income school districts a top priority for this legislative session.

Gov. Janet Napolitano wants $21 million added to the budget to fund voluntary all-day kindergarten in schools where 80 percent of the students participate in the free or reduced meal programs.

Currently all of Payson's elementary schools offer all-day kindergarten, however the Pine-Strawberry School does not. The number of low-income children in the school would qualify it for the governor's program.

Critics of the proposal consider all-day kindergarten tax-funded day care. The critics, mostly legislators, are not educators.

A dearth of research on keeping young children in school all day shows numerous benefits:

  • There are more consistent, positive academic outcomes for all children enrolled in all-day kindergarten.
  • The children made significantly greater progress in learning social skills.
  • The students are better prepared for first- grade.
  • All-day kindergarten provides a more relaxed atmosphere where there is time for creative activities and an opportunity for children to develop their own interests.
  • Parents report that all-day kindergarten teachers provide suggestions for home activities more frequently.
  • Teachers are able to offer more time for individual instruction.
  • There is more time for the teacher to become better acquainted with the children and their families, enabling them to better meet the child's needs.
  • Students who are delayed cognitively, physically, socially or emotionally benefit from having more time to obtain support and to practice skills in the areas of delay.
  • Full-day kindergarten can help level the playing field for those students not afforded quality preschool experiences.
  • Our society needs its children to acquire important competencies earlier in their school careers.
  • There is time to explore topics in depth.
  • Children and teachers are less hurried and stressed because more time is devoted to each learning objective.

Rim country residents can lend their support to the pursuit of the educational opportunities afforded by all-day kindergarten by pressing our legislators to get behind the governor's proposal.

Write or telephone Reps. Jack Brown and Bill Konopnicki and Sen. Jake Flake. Tell them to step up and make a difference in the future.

Send letters to 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007-2890, or telephone:

Rep. Jack Brown (602) 926-4129

Rep. Bill Konopnicki (602) 926-5409

Sen. Jake Flake (602) 926-5219

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