Nampa School District offering free, all-day, every-day kindergarten

Posted at 4:36 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-22 11:50:37-04

Nampa School District officials say they can offer all-day, every-day kindergarten thanks to a bulk of the funding coming from the passage of House Bill 222 on Tuesday.

Free all-day, every-day kindergarten is the norm in Kuna.

"All-day, every-day kindergarten is huge. We went from going to just some kids had all-day, every-day, to this year everyone has access to that," said building administrator at Kuna's Silver Trail Elementary.

Starting Monday, kids within the Nampa School District can begin enrolling for the same thing.

"Once we saw Kuna doing it, that was something that made us think, 'yeah, we'd really like to see if we can make that happen here as well,'" said Assistant Superintendent for Nampa School District Gregg Russell.

Governor Brad Little signed HB 222 on Tuesday, which doubles funding for literacy programs in Idaho. It aims to increase student reading skills by third grade and gives more funding for the district.

"Right now only 30 percent of our kids come to school ready to learn. That's about three out of 10. So to get kids to learn, it basically takes three things--you need time, you need resources, and you need great teaching," said Russell. "We have some great teachers, and what this gives us is just a bit more of that time and resources to be able to provide that."

Year after year, Idaho ranks at the bottom of the list in kindergarten readiness. District officials say thanks to all the early education research, kindergarten is a way to catch kids up, so they don't fall further behind in later years.

"Just as if you would build a foundation of a home, you need a strong base to get it built, and that's basically what kindergarten is for us, and we're excited," said Russell.

West Ada and Boise school districts don't have full-day kindergarten district-wide. Parents in the Nampa School District can begin enrolling their students this upcoming Monday, March 25.