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More programs needed – what about the other half day? July 15, 2008

Posted by kindergartenwatch in Resources.
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There are few private or community programs that synch with half-day kindergarten schedules in most districts. This makes it challenging for working parents to find care for the other half-day, especially if extended family does not live in the area.

Some before/after-school programs don’t offer a half-day option. Some don’t serve, or at least pick up, 5-year-olds. Many have waiting lists. Some are outside of the budgets of many working parents. Some districts don’t inform parents whether their child is in morning or afternoon kindergarten until shortly before school starts, making it hard to plan care in advance.

It’s also a tall order to fit around the schedules every day of the week, especially when you throw in an altered schedule one day a week for many districts. This occurs when kids are either let our early or arrive late to enable career development for teachers.

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Resources for Parents: Washington State Department of Early Learning April 29, 2008

Posted by kindergartenwatch in Communication, Resources.
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Are you looking for resources on child development or child care? Or perhaps links to child safety or nutrition resources?

The Washington State Department of Early Learning has an excellent Web site with links, downloads, and other helpful information for parents and other family. You can find out about learning benchmarks,  community partnerships, and more.

If you are a child care or education provider, see the Providers & Educators section for additional resources.

So what about the other half day? April 21, 2008

Posted by kindergartenwatch in School Districts.
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Very few community organizations or daycares provide instruction or care for kindergartners that would complement the half-day kindergarten programs. Some provide extended care for mornings and evenings, often with waiting list, but it usually wraps around a full school day.

Parents shouldn’t expect the district to be a babysitter, but realistically, what options are available to working parents? Not all families have extended family who are capable of caring for a rambunctious kindergartner, or who live nearby.

Another issue is that parents may not get to chose whether their child is in morning or afternoon programs, as this often depends on bus routes. Some schools don’t notify parents about placement until summer, which makes it even harder to plan. Some programs, typically afternoon, are shortened on early release days, making it even more complicated to find care.

If you lived in 13 other states in our nation, your state would be required to offer full-day kindergarten. Your neighborhood school — that you’ve paid taxes for — would be required to find space for your child. You would not have to tell a wide-eyed trusting little soul that he or she can’t attend schools with his or her friends.

If you have concerns about this issue, please let your school and state leaders know. If you are in the Lake Washington School District, where some schools have dozens of children on the waiting list, here are details on how to contact the board. There is a board meeting at 7 tonight (4/21) in the District Resource Center, but apparently the board only allows public comments on its first meeting of the month.