Canyon County

Nampa to start offering full-day tuition-free kindergarten

Caldwell schools are bringing preschool into the classroom

Caldwell School District Superintendent Shalene French explains how incorporating preschool into elementary school helps prepare students with fundamental skills needed for kindergarten.
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Caldwell School District Superintendent Shalene French explains how incorporating preschool into elementary school helps prepare students with fundamental skills needed for kindergarten.

The Nampa School District will start offering full-day tuition-free kindergarten this fall, the school district announced Wednesday.

The program will be financed by the state’s recent doubling of funds for its early literacy program at the direction of Gov. Brad Little, said Superintendent Paula Kellerer. It will give the district enough funds to hire an additional 10 teachers.

Previously, Nampa offered only free every-other-day kindergarten. Parents could pay tuition of $250 per month to enroll their children in full-time kindergarten at Iowa, Lake Ridge, Owyhee and Ronald Reagan elementary schools. Nampa began offering that option in fall 2016. Some low-income students also qualify for free kindergarten under the existing program.

The Kuna School District also instituted full time kindergarten. The Boise School District and West Ada School District do not yet offer tuition-free full-time kindergarten. Both currently charge $250 for the program and offer it at select schools.

“It’s difficult for large districts to do full-day kindergarten,” Kellerer said.

Parents may enroll their children in kindergarten if they are 5 years old on or before Sept. 1.

Registration for kindergarten typically begins in April.

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Kate reports on West Ada and Canyon County for the Idaho Statesman. She previously wrote for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Providence Business News. She has been published in The Atlantic and BuzzFeed News. Kate graduated from Brown University with a degree in urban studies.
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