Amy teaches kindergarten in Janesville, Minnesota. Although it hasn’t been easy, the school district has made it a priority to fund all-day kindergarten because of the benefits they’ve seen.
“Having the extra time with kids makes a huge difference in providing the repetition needed to prepare kids for reading, writing and math,” Amy says.
Amy also sees all-day kindergarten as an important part of preparing kids for their future success emotionally and socially.
“The additional time it gives us to build relationships and have structure in our days is huge,” she says. “For example, one year I had a young girl in my class who was very quiet. Even being in school all day, it took almost half the year before she came out of her shell. But when she did it was so rewarding to see her smile, say ‘good morning,’ answer questions, and make friends. ”
Amy also knows how important these breakthroughs are to prepare students for the first grade.
“First grade is a big learning year, but when they are used to coming to school all day and have had the chance to get comfortable with a teacher and their classmates, their anxiety goes down, which is critical to helping them learn.”
But not every child gets that chance. Amy worries about the gap created in Minnesota when not every child gets that same opportunity.
“We try to teach our kids about fairness,” she says, “But what are we saying if they are not all having an equal opportunity to succeed?”
With fair and adequate revenues, we can make sure all Minnesota kindergarteners get the time and attention they need to succeed.