SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Most people figure the students most likely to play hookey are in middle school or high school. But education officials in Minnesota say they're concerned about the number of kindergartners who aren't in class often enough.
According to the district, nearly half of Minneapolis kindergarteners had missed at least a week and a half of school last year.
We asked the experts in the Sioux Falls school district about the growing importance of attendance that first year.
Kindergarten students at Harvey Dunn Elementary are focusing on the sounds of letters and forming complete words. Throughout the course of this school year, they'll learn how to read and write full sentences. They'll also learn basic math skills.
"A lot of the things we used to think were reserved for our first graders are now being taught in Kindergarten. And our Kindergarteners are ready for it," Sioux Falls School District elementary curriculum coordinator Sue McAdaragh said.
McAdaragh is the curriculum coordinator for Sioux Falls elementary schools. She says good attendance in Kindergarten is crucial to a child's education and it might be one of the most difficult, if not nearly impossible, classes to make up.
"In Kindergarten especially, when a child misses out on a school experience, it's not like the teacher can send home the book with some instructions and have them complete as assignment at home because so much of what happens in Kindergarten is that classroom interaction; that conversation with peers," McAdaragh said.
That makes it even more important for the youngest students to be in the classroom every day, developing the skills they'll need in the years ahead.
Last year, the average kindergarten attendance rate was more than 95 percent in Sioux Falls.
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