Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Ready for Kindergarten

August 19, 2016

Our daughter’s favorite thing to do on the playground is the merry-go-round, and she’ll tell you that her favorite thing about preschool was her friends. And her teachers. And circle time. She’s now 5 (and a half) years old and she’s already reached one of her goals—and mine—she’s ready for Kindergarten this fall.

What does it mean to be ready for kindergarten? To me it’s the basics of academics, getting ready for reading and math, but it’s also social, learning how to be around different kinds of people, and how to deal with conflict. Playing with other kids. Academics and social skills are equally important—that helps not just in school but in life. And those are the skills that our daughter learned in pre-K.

 It’s high-quality education, not just a place to put your kids.

I’ve worked as a teacher’s aide before, helping out in the classroom, so I’ve seen what a teacher goes through and how important a good teacher is. It’s hard work. These are the people who are molding and shaping your kid—everything they do matters. Our teachers were awesome. They did trainings, so they were always getting better. They kept us involved and told us everything we wanted to know without having to be asked, and they met us at flexible times because most of the parents work. It felt like a community. Our teachers made every family feel special.

One of our favorite things about the preschool is Chef Claire—she cooks everything from scratch and teaches the kids healthy eating. She talks to them about the food so they’re not scared to try it. She’ll even send recipes home, and everything on the list fits in our budget.

The teachers were outstanding. The preschool Director was wonderful. The chef was fantastic. I feel like an awards show, I just want to recognize and thank everyone involved in the program.

When we decided to move back to Seattle, I had to do a lot of research to find this preschool. Of course I want to be a good parent, and I want the best education I can get for our daughter, but cost is always an issue. The Seattle Preschool Program uses a sliding scale for costs, so it fits all different kinds of budgets. It’s a blessing because it means that I can work and we won’t end up spending our whole paycheck.

I remember my own preschool, not all the details, but I remember the graduation and how it felt. I always knew preschool was an important part of education because my dad worked for Seattle Public Schools, and he saw first-hand how important it is. I also saw pre-K as a way to expose our daughter to different kinds of people and different experiences that would help her learn in every grade—that’s how you become a well-rounded person.

We’re on the waiting list now to go to Kindergarten in the same school, at Maple Elementary. But because of her preschool, I feel confident that no matter where she goes to elementary school, she’s prepared.

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