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Some educators pushing for required preschool, all-day Kindergarten in Utah

Some educators pushing for required preschool, all-day Kindergarten in Utah


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Countless studies have shown the benefit of preschool and all-day Kindergarten, but neither is required in the state of Utah. Some educators are saying they should be.

Some opponents say it's a funding issue, others argue it's too much schooling too soon. But many educators believe preschool and all-day Kindergarten programs would benefit every child.

Karen Sterling is the director of student advocacy and access for the Canyons School District. She says there is plenty of evidence that those early education programs provide opportunities for children to develop and increase their vocabulary.


We know from research that it is engaged learning time that makes the real difference in what kids will ultimately master.

–Karen Sterling


"We know from research that it is engaged learning time that makes the real difference in what kids will ultimately master," she said.

Sterling says students need to get an early start on literacy and vocabulary, or the gap widens every year.

"High school seniors near the top of their class knew four times as many words as their lower-performing peers," she said.

Socioeconomic status also plays a role. Sterling says some children go into first grade knowing two times as many words as those from lower socioeconomic circumstances. One report shows the impact of preschool and all-day Kindergarten is greatest on children from low-income families.

Sterling says the school day has stayed constant over the years, but that we've changed the expectation of what children need to learn. She says it's good for even higher-achieving children to get that extended learning time.

Email:mrichards@ksl.com

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