State-Funded Full-Day Kindergarten
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State-Funded Full-Day Kindergarten in Washington

State-funded full-day kindergarten is part of the state’s constitutionally protected definition of “basic education.”

By school year 2017–18, voluntary full-day kindergarten is to be fully implemented throughout Washington state, as outlined in RCW 28A.150.315. Schools with the highest rates of poverty are to be funded first, and once a school receives funding, the school is eligible in future school years, regardless of changes in the school's percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch.

Funding for School Years 2015–2016 and 2016–2017
In mid-April, 2015 the House of Representatives and Senate passed separate budgets both of which would nearly double the number of children served by state-funded full-day kindergarten in the 2015-16 school year and fund 100% in the 2016–17 school year. Currently, 43.75% of kindergarten students receive state funding. Under the Senate proposal, 75% would be served in 2015-16 and 72% would be served in the House proposal. The final operating budget will determine the actual level of funding.

The eligibility ranking list for the 2015–16 school year is based on a school’s free and reduced price lunch eligibility.

Funding for School Years 2013–2014 and 2014–2015
On June 30, 2013, Governor Inslee signed the biennial state operating budget that will fund 43.75% of kindergarten students in both the 2013–14 and 2014–15 school years. Schools were notified of the available funding in early July and were asked to notify OSPI if they were able to accept the funds.

Eligibility and Program Elements
Determination of eligibility for state-funded full-day kindergarten is based on an individual school’s poverty percentage from the prior school year in October.
Schools must meet the following program elements to be eligible for state funds for full-day kindergarten

  • At least 1,000 hours of instruction in 180 school days. However, schools may use up to three days at the beginning of the school year for the WaKIDS “Family Connection”
  • Curriculum that offers a rich, varied set of experiences that assist students in:
    • Developing initial skills in the academic areas of reading, mathematics, and writing;
    • Developing a variety of communication skills;
    • Providing experiences in science, social studies, arts, health and physical education, and a world language other than English;
    • Acquiring large and small motor skills;
    • Acquiring social and emotional skills including successful participation in learning activities as an individual and as part of a group; and
    • Learning through hands-on experiences.
  • Establish learning environments that are developmentally appropriate and promote creativity.
  • Demonstrate strong connections and communication with early learning community providers.
  • Participate in kindergarten program readiness activities with early learning providers and parents.
  • Administer the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS).
  • Provide full-day kindergarten to all students who request it.

Helpful Resources
For more information, including how to design a successful full-day kindergarten program.

State Laws on State-Funded Full-Day Kindergarten


State-Funded Full-Day Kindergarten and WaKIDS Webinar, April 28, 2015
Presentation: PPT | PDF | WMV
The webinar provides information useful to school district staff and school principals who may receive funding for state-funded full-day kindergarten and be implementing the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS), the state's kindergarten assessment.

Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  (360) 725-6000  TTY (360) 664-3631
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