Frequently Asked Questions
After a successful pilot year in 2010-11, the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills, or WaKIDS, is a fully funded program that brings families, teachers and early learning providers together to support each child’s learning and transition into public schools. WaKIDS was developed in collaboration with a diverse group of stakeholders, including elementary teachers and principals, special education specialists, early care and education providers, parents, and representatives from Washington’s Tribal communities. Senate Bill 5427, passed during the 2011 legislative session, moves toward statewide WaKIDS implementation.
In the 2011-12 school year, WaKIDS is used in nearly 500 classrooms around the state (WaKIDS Districts and Schools), with 11,000 incoming kindergarteners. This school year, WaKIDS is optional for state-funded full-day kindergarten classrooms, but will be mandatory in 2012-13. Other schools may choose to participate.
Kindergarten teachers meet with families and early learning providers to talk about each child’s strengths and needs. In the fall, kindergarten teachers will complete a more formal assessment of each child’s skills (social and emotional, physical, cognitive and linguistic skills). Early learning providers and kindergarten teachers will continue to meet to develop new ways to collaborate and share information.
Kindergarten teachers will use the information from WaKIDS to improve classroom teaching and tailor their instruction to the individual needs of each child. In addition, WaKIDS will help determine best practices for engaging with families and inform decisions at the community, district and state levels for future investments in early learning.
Yes. All children who have had their 5th birthday by Aug. 31 may enter kindergarten. The purpose of WaKIDS is to provide families, early learning providers and kindergarten teachers a more formal process for sharing information, so that children receive the support they need to be successful in school. It is not a tool to determine whether a child should enter kindergarten.
Each year, 70,000 children enter kindergarten with a varying degree of skills. We want to know what works best in supporting successful transitions from early learning into the K-12 school system.
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