Lewis­ton’s all-day kinder­garten lead­ing to big gains

The Idaho Statesman (Sunday) - - STAY CONNECTED - BY JUSTYNA TOMTAS Lewis­ton Tri­bune LEWIS­TON

Stu­dents in Tina Greene’s kinder­garten class are al­most one full quar­ter ahead of sched­ule in their read­ing and writ­ing thanks to the launch of the Lewis­ton School District’s all­day kinder­garten pro­gram.

Other kinder­garten teach­ers have also shared with Greene they’re fur­ther along than they were last year with the half-day pro­gram.

“Over­all, it’s all gone re­ally, re­ally well,” Greene told The Lewis­ton Tri­bune. “Now we have time to teach in depth and make sure they are un­der­stand­ing what’s be­ing taught be­fore go­ing on to the next les­son. We’re truly teach­ing those lessons.”

The ad­di­tional time has al­lowed more op­por­tu­ni­ties for art, games, hands-on learn­ing and work­ing on the so­cial-emo­tional skills teach­ers say are vi­tal to suc­cess in the school sys­tem.

About 340 kids are reg­is­tered in the kinder­garten pro­gram.

Since Idaho only funds half­day kinder­garten, the district had to spend about $350,000 to ex­pand to a full-day pro­gram.

This year, about five of Greene’s stu­dents came in not pre­pared. Some lacked fine mo­tor skills or didn’t know how to func­tion in a group of peers.

About half of the stu­dents in her class went to preschool be­fore­hand.

Those stu­dents are easy to pin­point, Greene said, be­cause they have a bet­ter idea of what school is and the ex­pec­ta­tions placed on them. They’re also fur­ther along aca­dem­i­cally.

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