Jeff Eklund, Principal
Braham Area Elementary School
Starting next fall, Braham Area Schools will be offering All-Day, Every-Day Kindergarten to all Kindergarten eligible students. This program is free to all attending Kindergarten at Braham Area Elementary.
Kindergarten was introduced in the 1930s. This was kindergarten, as most of us know it, half-days or every other day. This model worked well for many years. Students would go to school and get a feel for what first grade would be like, and parents would still get to see their children more frequently during the week. This model however, is outdated.
More and more families either have both parents working or are single parent families trying to make it in this economy. Childcare costs are at an all time high because the demand for daycare keeps increasing. Schools are being held to a higher standard by not only themselves, but by the government and parents as well. These, along with many other reasons have caused us to look at how we can best help our students become more successful at an earlier age.
As most of you are aware, the state is currently figuring out ways to increase funding for All-Day, Every-Day Kindergarten. Many different proposals have been introduced that would either fund part, or this entire program. As the government argues about how to financially do this, the focus has turned away from what should be the most important question, “what is best for kids?” This question and this question alone should be what drives our decision as a state and a school district about our educational programming.
As a first year principal in this district I am very proud to say that we have a school board, superintendent, and community that understands this. The support that is shown for the kids of Braham Area Schools is extraordinary.
What are the benefits of all-day, every-day kindergarten?
• Current research shows that 5-year-olds are more than ready for a full day of school. A full day of school allows for kindergarten students to develop socially, emotionally, and intellectually more quickly than students that attend every other day or half day kindergarten.
• Teachers have the ability to get to know their kids on a deeper level. This allows them to better individualize and differentiate their teaching in the classrooms.
• Struggling students are identified earlier. By identifying these kids we can develop an early intervention that will benefit and challenge these students as quickly as possible.
• Research has shown that students that attend all-day, every-day kindergarten compared to students that don’t, receive higher scores on basic skills tests.
• Students in all-day, every-day kindergarten have lower retention rates and better attendance.
• All-day, every-day kindergarten can help close the achievement gap that exists in a grade level.
Reg Weaver, the President of the National Education Association said, “For Children to grow and thrive in kindergarten, they need a few very simple things: they need care and attention from their teacher and education support professionals; they need developmentally appropriate activities that engage them as young learners; and they need time to process information and to move between activities. Quality full-day kindergarten programs ensure that children have the time and attention they need from their teachers to be successful learners.”
We are very lucky to have some of the best educators in the state of Minnesota. Many members of our elementary teaching staff have taught multiple grade levels. This experience will help us to adapt our curriculum to make it more challenging for our all-day, every-day kindergarten students as they move to each grade level.
It has been said that, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” The dedication of our teaching staff, the hard work of our students, and the continued support of our community are helping us to create some unbelievable life-long learners here at Braham Elementary.
If you are interested in being a part of our free all-day, every-day kindergarten program, or have any questions regarding it call 320-396-3316.