All Day Kindergarten in MN Closer to Reality

Posted at: 04/24/2013 7:00 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- All-day kindergarten is one step closer to going state-wide in Minnesota.

The Minnesota house has passed its education finance bill that funds the expansion.

The Austin school district implemented all-day, every-day kindergarten several years ago.

And it's earning high grades.

Today, kindergarten is the new first grade.

"The rigor, the academic expectations, the things that were tradition in first grade have really trickled down to kindergarten now," said Jessica Cabeen, principal of Woodson Kindergarten Center in Austin.

“There's this need with kids going to preschool and day care doing a little bit more, so we've moved to an academic kindergarten," added Woodson kindergarten teacher Kris Kasak.

In part because the world has changed.

"Our parents are working full-time and our kids have been in daycare since they were little tiny people, and so they're ready for something else a little more advanced," Kris Kasak told us.

And when you factor in language and socio-economic challenges:

“To bring all that in and work with all those pieces in nine months and have them ready to start first grade is a challenge, but to have that extra time to work with kids is a great benefit," principal Jessica Cabeen said.

But kindergarten hasn’t changed completely since you were there.

"We're learning how to take turns, how to share," Jessica Cabeen said.

“Our manners and ... working as a community, as a team,” Kris Kasak added.

And with all-day-every-day kindergarten one step closer to going statewide, some advice for other school districts from one that has shown that it works.

"I think to take what they presently have and build on it, and also to remember, stick to your common core from the state. our standards are important," teacher Kris Kasak told us.