District 39 provides a half-day kindergarten program for students. Students attend one of the District's four neighborhood elementary schools for either morning (8:55 – 11:30) or afternoon (12:40 – 3:15). Contact your local school to begin the process of enrolling a kindergartener. To find your local District 39 Elementary School, use the School Locator service.
Within the half-day, District 39 kindergarten teachers successfully deliver a rich and appropriately challenging curriculum. Children receive instruction in core areas of math, English language arts, social studies, and science. Additionally, there is Spanish instruction twice each week and music, physical education, and library weekly. At the end of the kindergarten year, students are very well prepared for the first grade curriculum.
District explores a longer day
Many parents inquire about a longer day for kindergarteners, and this option has been explored in D39 for the last several years. In concept, there are two ways to provide for a longer day:
- Full-Day Kindergarten – students attend a full school day like other students and specified curriculum is spread throughout the day. District 39 is not considering full-day kindergarten at the present time.
- Kindergarten Enrichment – optional fee-based extension of the day; curriculum is covered for half the day and the fee-based optional extended time is used for non-curricular activities. District 39 continues to evaluate the feasibility of optional kindergarten enrichment.
There is a move to a true full-day kindergarten program in some communities around the country, but many north shore districts do not provide full day kindergarten. Instead, some local districts do provide fee-based optional kindergarten enrichment.
Space and financial considerations
While there are many fee-based full-day options available in Wilmette, the District understands that parents would prefer students remain in their home school. However, space and cost issues must be addressed.
The biggest concern in District 39 is lack of space. With current enrollments, there is not sufficient space in the four elementary buildings to incorporate an extension to the kindergarten day.
As a public school district, capital expenditures are carefully evaluated and priorities set to pursue those projects that will positively impact the greatest number of students. To date, other construction priorities set by the Board include limited air conditioning at every school, new science facilities at Wilmette Junior High, library/media centers becoming Learning Commons at each school, and an addition at Romona School to accommodate early childhood and special education programs.
What to expect
Fortunately, there are several good enrichment options locally for parents who wish to extend their child's kindergarten day; many D39 students go to kindergarten enrichment at the park district or other private providers. At this time, the District cannot provide this without incurring significant costs.
As enrollments and capital needs are evaluated annually, the District will reconsider the kindergarten enrichment option.