Growing kindergarten enrollment numbers due to population growth and all-day class

Posted at 4:28 PM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 19:09:42-04

Kuna kindergarteners are ringing in the end of this year's statewide testing.

"This kind of stuff was never possible on fifteen hours a year, that's all we got before, now we got all day."

Educators are waiting to see how the scores changed, because of all-day kindergarten. Kuna school districts first year with the full-length classes brought nearly 70 students above the average enrollment number.

Kuna school district is wrapping up the first year of all day every day kindergarten. On may first of last year, 226 students had already registered, and this year they're at 297.

"I taught first grade for several years and always thought we had phenomenal kindergarten teachers with wonderful experience, but they were handed a really hard task to get kids prepared for first grade with a full year's worth of standards but only half the time," said kindergarten teacher Mary Beth Hanson.

Parents often voice concerns that all-day class-time is too much pressure for a child that young, but educators like Hanson explain that's not the case.

"We definitely start the year off with shorter activities that don't require a long attention span and ease them into what it's like to be at school," said Hanson.

The challenges Kuna Joint School District expected to face being the only all-day kindergarten district, ended up not being challenges at all.

"We were wondering if we were going to have to offer some half-days for parents that wanted that, but nobody wanted that, everybody wanted all-day, everyday kindergarten," said communications administrator for the district David Reinhart.

District officials say more parents applied for open-enrollment, so their kids could attend the all-day kindergarten despite living outside the district. Still, there are adjustments to be made in the schools.

"The challenge this year will be knowing how many teachers we need," said Reinhart.

This time last year, Nampa School District only had 40 students enrolled before their in-person kindergarten registration day, compared to this year at 325 students. This fall will be their first year with full-day, every-day kindergarten.