New schedule for kindergarten

South Whidbey kindergarten students will be on a new schedule next fall.

Rather than attending on a half-day schedule, students will be attending full days, twice a week and every other Friday.

Students will attend Monday, Wednesday and every other Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and every other Friday.

The reason for the change is to improve education for the young students.

"A day-long kindergarten provides more continuity in teaching. They will still be doing the same things, but a full day will provide more focused time for the students, rather than breaking it up after several hours," said Dan Blanton, assistant superintendent of the South Whidbey School district.

Blanton said studies have shown that transition from day- long kindergarten to first grade is easier than from half-day kindergarten.

"Students learn quickly, that school is from morning to afternoon," Blanton said.

According to Blanton the new schedule has been considered for several years by the district.

Eliminating the noon kindergarten bus runs will save the district some money.

"We expect to save about $35,000 from the state-funded transportation budget.

Currently, buses pick up and take home students for both morning and afternoon kindergarten sessions.

It does mean fewer hours for bus drivers but according to Blanton with the removal of the mid-day run, drivers will have more access "to bid for field trips, basically anywhere we take kids for co-curricular activities."

"Those opportunities offer more hours, than the noon day run."

So far a total of 97 students registered for kindergarten last week next year with about seven applications still out.

"We are up from last year. Typically, we pre-register about 80 students in the spring. We expect another 16-20 students will come in before the start of the year," said Blanton.

There are 123 students in kindergarten this year.

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