The Utah State Board of Education recently released information relating to Full-Day kindergarten. There have been 314 new kindergarten classes added statewide, which will serve 7,226 more students than the previous school year. The increase in student enrollment was made possible by H.B. 477 during the 2023 legislative session. H.B. 477 opened up full-day kindergarten opportunities for all districts, with an option for half-day kindergarten. The research has found that it takes 15-20 minutes over a short amount of time to close a learning gap in kindergarten, compared to 90 minutes to three hours a day over a longer period to close a learning gap in third grade. Students enrolled in full-day kindergarten tend to progress in mathematics and reading at a higher rate than their half-day kindergarten peers.
In the Kane County School District, we planned the design of the new Kanab Elementary School to accommodate full-day kindergarten. In the old building, we were only able to offer half-day kindergarten because of the limited space in two classrooms. In the new school, we have four classrooms dedicated to kindergarten. This year we have 69 students enrolled in kindergarten in Kanab, where approximately 25% of the parents have opted for half-day. Kanab Elementary School has a vacant kindergarten classroom and four additional classrooms for future growth. Valley Elementary and Big Water have offered full-day kindergarten for several years. We are excited as a district to offer full-day kindergarten to all our students and know early intervention is a critical key to a student’s academic success.