Talking points on full-time kindergarten

1. The 2007 Montana Legislature did not mandate full-time kindergarten. The funding is for Montana school districts that choose to offer it. Parents can still choose half-day kindergarten or no kindergarten for their children.

2. Nationwide, about 60 percent of kindergarteners attend full-time kindergarten. In Montana, only 25 percent of children have that option. It should be available to all Montana kids to level the playing field.

3. The new state funding will allow districts to provide optional full-time kindergarten without sacrificing other programs for other students.

4. Full-day kindergarten boosts academic achievement for all children, especially low-income and minority students. It also lowers dropout rates and reduces behavioral problems. (Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, National Center for Education Statistics, and others)

5. Research shows five-year-old children are ready and able to handle six hours in school. (Early Childhood Research Quarterly)

6. Full-time kindergarten is a sound investment. A $1 investment in a child's earliest years of schooling yields a $3 return by reducing the need for costly special services. (U. of Chicago Committee for Economic Development)

7. When teachers have more time with young children, they have a better chance of detecting learning disabilities and academic difficulties early in a child's life, giving the best hope for lasting improvement. (Early Childhood Research Quarterly).






 


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