K-12 EDUCATION

Utah Board of Education says full-day kindergarten benefits students’ futures

Mar 22, 2023, 11:00 AM

Kindergarteners Daleyza Plancarte Castro, left, Aitana De La Cruz and Alexis Bernal wait to change ...

FILE: Kindergarteners Daleyza Plancarte Castro, left, Aitana De La Cruz and Alexis Bernal wait to change classrooms at Daniels Canyon Elementary School in Heber City on March 29, 2022. Beginning May 1, 2024, kindergarteners in Utah will need to demonstrate they can use the bathroom properly. (Kristin Murphy /Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy /Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s schools are preparing to add more full-day kindergarten classes now that Gov. Spencer Cox has signed a bill to increase funding for the program.

Utah Board of Education Public Affairs Director Sharon Turner told KSL at Night that this bill was a priority. 

“Full-day kindergarten has been one of the Board’s top legislative priorities during the last two sessions. It’s going to bring a lot of benefits to the students and it also directly aligns with the Board’s strategic plan.”

Part of the Board’s plan, Turner said, is to make more resources available to schools. 

What are the benefits?

Turner said full-day kindergarten makes a positive impact on students’ futures.

“Students in full-day kindergarten are less likely to need academic intervention in later grades. It does provide a better opportunity to identify learning challenges early on.”

Turner said if a student is struggling with a certain concept in full-day kindergarten, teachers have more time to provide support.

“It takes only 15 to 30 minutes over a short amount of time to close a learning gap in kindergarten,” Tuner said. And compared to learning gaps in third grade, “it takes 90 minutes to three hours a day over a long period of time to close a learning gap.”

Is full-day kindergarten mandatory?

Parents will be able to choose what they think is best for their kids.

“This bill does require schools to provide a half-day option if requested by parents,” Tuner said, adding “Full-day kindergarten is totally optional and it does provide parents with the choice to enroll their child if they would like to.”

Listen to the full KSL at Night segment:

 

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Utah Board of Education says full-day kindergarten benefits students’ futures