May 21, 2024

USD 457 gets housing update, kindergarten readiness report

Garden City, KS(westernkansasnews.com) At the Garden City School Board meeting Monday night the board heard a housing report from the city and got a kindergarten preparedness preparation from educators in the district.

According to the city over the next nine years Garden City needs to average 114 new units to meet housing needs. City Manager Matt Allen says he know of three new projects that should become official in 2018. However the city is still behind, over the last five years the city has averaged 66 new housing units, with only 33 in 2017.

The board also saw a report on all day kindergarten and kindergarten readiness. Garfield Early Childhood Principal Jeff Guymon said that across the state kids who come into kindergarten have the widest range of readiness of any grade. Guymon also added that it’s the educators job to be ready for those different degrees of preparedness.

ESOL Coach Monica Diaz said kindergarten will still be a rigorous time in a child’s life, but through more developmental, purposeful play they are hoping it will be more appropriate for five year olds. As opposed to it being so academic and structured. We’d like to get the same outcomes, but through more play based learning.

The presentation stated that the plan is to have August and September for kindergarteners look more like preschool, with a lot of play and teaching kids how to play. In the middle of the year classes will move to child initiated play, exploring all the standards that need to be covered through the presence of teachers. From there they’ll move to a playful classroom with focus learning, which shifts to more of the academic skills. In April and May it will look more like first grade, with less guided play and more academic focus.

School Psychologist Jenna Rycek said research is showing that children learn more through play.

“Structured play or even unstructured play, is going to help build that prefrontal cortex, which will help with social and emotional development, cognitive development and make them a more rounded individual,” said Rycek.

In other action the school board approved the purchase of two activity buses for a total of $470,000. They also approved adding new classes at the high school including Spanish III for Native Speakers, Firefighter I-GCCC, Firefighter II-GCCC and Fundamentals of Engineering. When students finish the firefighter courses they will be fully certified to be a firefighter once they reach the appropriate age.