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More Missouri Students Attending Full-Day Kindergarten


Enrollment in full-day kindergarten has increased by more than 10% — from 85.6% to 95.7% — since 2006, according to the Missouri Top Ten by 20 Dashboard . This is great news for the state of Missouri.

The fact that Missouri offers full-day kindergarten is a sign that Missouri is ahead of the national learning curve for the public education of young students. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, 94% of Missouri’s children attend full-day kindergarten, while only ten states and the District of Columbia require full-day kindergarten to be provided and publicly funded at all. Thirty-four states require at least half-day kindergarten, and six have no requirement at all for public kindergarten programs.

Is Full-Day Kindergarten Overrated?
Research shows that students who attend full-day kindergarten programs build stronger academic foundations that their peers who attend part-day programs or don’t attend kindergarten.

Strategies for Children cites research that students who attend full-day kindergarten programs learn more in reading and math and exhibit more independent learning, classroom involvement, and productivity in work with peers than children who are enrolled in half-day kindergarten programs

At-risk and low-income students, especially, benefit from full-time kindergarten instruction.

A study of 17,600 Philadelphia students found not only that low-income students performed better in full-day than half-day kindergarten, but that school districts saved a substantial sum of money in reduced retention rates of those full-time kindergarten students in the first, second and third grades. 

Missouri has a 22% child poverty rate and 34% of Missouri’s children live in single parent families. 146,000 Missourians receive WIC (Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program) support, and nearly half a million adults and children in Missouri receive welfare

When so many of Missouri’s students and families are low-income, Missouri’s record high enrollment in full-day kindergarten is especially meaningful. We are setting the next generation of students up for academic — and life – success.

Is your child or a child in your care nearing kindergarten age? Enrollment in Missouri’s full-time kindergarten programs is free in most districts. Contact your local public school district to find out how to enroll your child.


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