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The WaKIDS pilot includes three parts:
- Family connection — Time for the kindergarten teacher and family to meet and share information about the child entering kindergarten.
- An assessment of where children are in four domains of child development (social/emotional; literacy; cognitive; physical). Three different “bundles” of assessment tools are being tested by different communities during the pilot.
- Early learning collaboration—Time for early learning providers and kindergarten teachers to meet and share information about children entering kindergarten.
WaKIDS preliminary data suggest that more than a third of those children participating in WaKIDS enter kindergarten below expected skill levels. The parent, preschool teacher and kindergarten teacher who also testified on Thursday spoke to the great improvement in personal connections, learning and enthusiasm that resulted from using the WaKIDS tools. OSPI has submitted legislation to include WaKIDS in state-funded kindergarten classrooms.
Toppenish preschool teacher Krista Goudy-Sutterlict from described how the WaKIDS process strengthens the relationships between preschool and kindergarten teachers which can then guide and strengthen early learning settings.
“What I mean by strengthening the relationship, we’re using the same language,” she said.
Goudy-Sutterlict, who is also a member of the Yakama Nation, said she works to incorporate cultural awareness into her classroom.
“What I appreciate about the WaKIDS process is its holistic approach,” she said.
Hortensia West, a Spanish immersion kindergarten teacher in the Bremerton School District visited her students and their families in the two weeks before school started to learn about their expectations, traditions and personalities. Using the WaKIDS tools showed her where she needed to adjust her teaching and lesson plans to fit her students’ strengths and weaknesses.
“Taking all that information, I brought it into the classroom and it has made a tremendous difference,” she said. “There’s so much cohesiveness.”
Surina Warren-Nash, a parent in Ridgefield School District, explained how when her son (who is now in third grade) first entered kindergarten, the teacher didn’t support using the information collected from his ECEAP and Head Start classrooms. The WaKIDS process encourages information sharing to build a full picture of a child. Warren-Nash hopes this is what happens for her daughter who is about to enter kindergarten.
“WaKIDS just makes sense,” she said.
For more information about WaKIDS, visit www.del.wa.gov/wakids.