With kindergarten readiness in Kelso at a seven-year low, the Kelso School District is hosting a kindergarten welcome and informational evening for 2019-20 incoming students. The first ever Kelso Kinderpalooza will be held at on May 7th in the Kelso High School Commons from 6:00 to 7:30 pm.

The district is seeing a steady decline in the number of students coming to school ready for kindergarten. This year, the number of children who entered kindergarten meeting expectations in all six areas of development is at 11.4 percent, compared to the state-wide rate of 44.9 percent. In fact, the district had more than twice as many students (24 percent) showing readiness in zero areas of development than they had showing readiness in all six.

“We want to support students in their transition to public school,” said Lacey Deweert, Associate Director of Teaching & Learning for the district. “It’s really about building community and establishing the foundation of #WeAre.”

At Kelso’s Kinderpalooza, parents can register their children for school, meet district staff, learn about kindergarten readiness, get information on breakfast and lunch programs, board a school bus, meet the Tooth Fairy, have fun in the photo booth, and more. A light dinner will also be provided.

The event is free and open to 2019-20 Kelso kindergartners (even those already registered), early learners and their families. For questions about the event, people can call Amy De La Grange at 360.501.1905 or email amy.delagrange@kelsosd.org.

More about kindergarten readiness:

Some of the ways lack of readiness shows up is in a student’s ability (or not) to walk in lines, self-regulate, work with others, identify letters, or recognize their own name when it’s written.

The importance of early learning cannot be overstated. Research from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing found that students entering kindergarten who were behind in their social-behavioral development were up to 80 percent more likely to be held back a grade level and to receive extra educational supports. They were also up to seven times more likely to be suspended or expelled at least once. The research also shows that a lack of kindergarten readiness takes a larger toll, including added expenses for special education and the juvenile justice system.