Kindergarten: Fully Funding the Foundation

Danielle Brown Current Affairs, Education, Education Policy, Elementary, Life in the Classroom

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Recently, there have been a few articles regarding the full funding of Kindergarten in the state of Arizona, as seen here and here. Currently the state funds Kindergarten for half a day, while some districts find ways to fund the other half. Some of these funding structures include charging parents  tuition for the second half or using Title I funds to cover costs.

As I read through various stances on the issue, I found myself agreeing with the importance of funding full day Kindergarten, what I like to call “full funding of the foundation”. Kindergarten is often the foundation for many students as they begin their educational journey. As I reflect on my own class make up, less than half have any prior preschool/prek learning experiences. A full day of Kindergarten is a chance for most students to learn about their own social emotional needs, how to problem solve, how to engage with others & how to persevere & explore while learning new content.

Now to air all biases, I have dedicated my career, the last 7 of 8 years to teaching Kindergarten. Teaching primary is my passion, seeing the growth students achieve as they explore and own their own learning excites me.  Kindergarten is such a crucial experience in a child’s educational journey, an experience that all children should have, regardless of a family’s ability to pay tuition or by virtue of the school you are enrolled in.

To shed some light on the experience of full day Kindergarten, I turned to the experts, my students. Their responses are below:

“Well, if I didn’t go to school for the whole day, I don’t know if I would be an artist!” -K

This child was referencing the art class that the students attend once a week for 45 minutes, something not easily feasible in a half day structure.

“Learning how to read has been fun, now I can read and write stories!” – K

“Problem solving journals are my favorite! If we went to school for half of the day, would we have time to do that?” -D

“I have fun with our science, like using our 5 senses, & watching Pumpkin Jack change.” – S

This child was referencing our “rotten science”, seeing what happens to our class Jack- O-Lantern over time.

“Well, we learn all day long, I am not sure learning a half a day long would be much fun!” -M

“I get to make up games with what I learn, like sight word tic tac toe. I can practice sight words and have fun!” -T

“I really like “book day” (library) Mrs. M reads us a book and I try to find books we have read in class!” -J

As conversations around full day funding of Kindergarten are brought to the table, it’s tremendously important that stakeholders speak to the importance of the foundation Kindergarten provides.

As students begin to work through college and career ready standards, learning to read, expressing themselves through writing and speech, and demonstrating fluency and flexibility with numbers, it’s important to be the voice for those students.

In my experience, when it comes to learning and growth, students are both capable and eager to do so, are we doing them a disservice by only providing, a half day to accomplish this?

As I see it, this shouldn’t be a conversation of WHY should we fully fund Kindergarten, rather WHEN will we start.

For more information & infographics about the fully funding Kindergarten and how we compare to other states, check out the resource found here!


Danielle Brown

Sierra Vista, Arizona

My name is Danielle Brown, and I am a PROUD, National Board Certified (EC-GEN) public school Kindergarten teacher in Southeast Arizona. I will begin my seventh year teaching, with one year as the arts integration specialist and 6 years as a kindergarten teacher. I have a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and am currently pursuing a Masters in Educational Leadership.
I believe in Board Certification and I support teachers, as a Candidate Support Provider, in their work to achieve Board Certification. I am continuing my journey of teacher leadership from the classroom as a 2016 ASCD Influence Leader, focusing on engaging educators in policy, as well as working as a National Policy Teacher Fellow with Hope Street Group, as well as a new member on the Arizona Teacher Solutions® Team. I love connecting with other educators, staying solutions oriented and growing as a professional.
You can find me on Twitter @TeachDB17, reach out, connect and let's grow together.

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Comments 5

  1. Jess Ledbetter

    And if I could add to this wish list…let’s go for national funding of preschool! :) There is so much research about the importance of early learning experiences for developing the mind. Our kids deserve a quality EARLY education.

    1. Danielle Brown

      Of course you can add to the wish list! This would be on my wish list too! I see how early intervention and education supports my students in Kindergarten. It really makes a difference! Thanks for adding to the wish list!

  2. Angelia

    Thank you for this call to action! When should we start…. Ho can this possibly still be an option on the menu of budget cuts. It is appalling to see what students are expected to have mastered by first and second grade, yet to assume that full day kindergarten is unnecessary in order to meet these rigorous standards is irresponsible. I am so glad we have educators like you advocating for students. I appreciate that you not only come at these issues with facts, but also with quotes from your students. Thank you for your advocacy and dedication to primary students.

  3. Mike Vargas

    Recently I had drinks with some AZ rock star teachers and people that know things and was amazed to find out the status of Kinder in our state. I had no idea it was not in the law to be fully funded.. Thank you for bringing more light to this

  4. kbuffett

    I LOVE the quotes from students you shared here. This one was particularly meaningful to me: “Well, we learn all day long, I am not sure learning a half a day long would be much fun!”

    It just seems like early childhood education is the key to long term educational success. It’s a great way for children to get adjusted to the school environment and socialize with other students their age in an environment that is welcoming and collaborative. Even more importantly, getting students thinking and working in a classroom at a young age is incredibly beneficial for cognitive growth. With all of that being said, I 100% agree with you in that Kindergarten should be a full-day experience.

    Fantastic post!

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