Richland offers "Partners for Early Learning" program

RICHLAND, Wash. - Richland has a new plan to prepare preschoolers for kindergarten. The district is partnering with local day cares to get students on the right foot.

Danielle Magana has one child heading into kindergarten and another into pre-school at Sacajawea Elementary, she looks for any chance to further their education.

"I think it just sets them up for success in life, they'll have confidence and be successful adults in life," said mother, Danielle Magana.

And that is what the Richland School District is trying to offer, it's starting a new initiative called "Partners for Early Learning." The program is geared towards kids from birth all the way up until third grade, the district is focusing on kids in pre-school.

"All years are still important, but the foundation needs to happen before kindergarten," said Home and Health Advocate for Richland School District, Christie Funkhouser.

A $63,000 grant has allowed Richland to partner with more than five dozen local day cares, sharing core curriculum, so preschool teachers can prepare kids for the challenges of all-day kindergarten.

"You don't want to just drop him off and let him run around and do whatever, it's great just having them to be able to learn something from that day," said Magana.

Kennewick School District has offered a similar program called Ready for Kindergarten, it involves parents directly with free books and learning tools so they can work with their kids at home. Parents also know the benchmarks and expectations for when their child gets to kindergarten.

"To help them be successful that first year so they don't start off behind and spend years trying to catch up where the other kids are," said Assistant Superintendent, Greg Fancher.

"I think that even across districts we have that common goal," said Funkhouser.

The Richland School District holds a monthly workshop for parents at the Richland High School Library once a month.