As parents, we want the best possible educational experience for our child(ren), however the reality is that many parents have to work outside the home to make ends meet. Knowing that academic expectations continue to grow for our students in grades K-12, it is important that local school districts create multiple opportunities for our students to be successful. Having access to quality educational programs at an early age, increases a student’s likelihood of academic success.
Studies have identified that preschool programs develop literacy skills such as letter-name recognition, phonological and print awareness which strengthens a student’s ability to develop the skills necessary for reading and writing. Quality early childhood programs engage students in developmentally appropriate practices that include pre-literacy, pre-numeracy activities, language, social and physical development.
The National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs indicates that high quality early childhood programs can yield a $4-$9 return per $1.00 invested. By having students better prepared academically when they enter kindergarten, districts not only see academic benefits but a financial benefit. Students who show proficiency at an early age, do not often have a need for remediation services in later years and therefore decrease the cost of educational services for local districts.
Knowing that there is a high return on each dollar invested in early childhood programs, why do we continue to struggle to provide these programs to all the primary age students in Idaho? That is a question, administrators, including myself continue to ask legislators each year. Idaho currently provides no additional state funding for public pre-kindergarten programs and only funds ½ day kindergarten. Districts in Region 2 such as Deary, Genesee, Highland, Kendrick, Lewiston, Moscow, Mountain View, Orofino and Troy use local supplemental levies to provide these additional education opportunities for our students. We firmly believe that offering preschool and full day kindergarten are two opportunities that we can provide our students at an early age that will benefit our students for many years to come. We encourage Idaho to support the ability of our local school districts to develop Early Childhood programs to better meet the needs of Idaho families.
Submitted by Region 2 Superintendents:
Dr. Wendy Moore, Genesee Joint School District 282
Mr. Jacob Gion, Highland/ Craigmont Joint District #305
Mr. Lance Hanson, Lewiston Independent District #340
Mr. Steve Kirkland, Kendrick Joint District # 283
Dr. Greg Bailey, Moscow District 281
Mr. Shawn Tiegs, NezPerce Joint District #302
Dr. Michael Garrett, Orogino Joint District #171
Mrs. Janet Avery, Potlatch District #285
Mr. Brad Malm, Troy District #287
Mr. Kendrick Jared, Whitepine Joint District #288