Spokane Library focuses on new approach for kindergarten preparedness

SPOKANE, Wash. — Kindergarten registration is less than a week away, but Washington lawmakers believe early learning should start well before students enter the classroom.

The Spokane County Library District is looking to make that transition from preschool to kindergarten a little smoother for both students and parents.

“We have a baby story time on up through school age,” said Mary Ellen Braks with the Spokane County Library District.

Lately, the Spokane County Library is taking a different approach with story time.

“Right now we’re being a little more intentional about it,” said Braks.

“I enjoy coming. It’s good for the kids,” said Emily Corbitt, who attended the event.

Corbitt’s son Tanner just turned five. He’ll be starting kindergarten this fall.

“They teach them about bar graphs. I’m like, ‘Oh! I didn’t even think of that.’,” said Corbitt.

She’s not alone. Braks admits kindergarten is a lot more advanced then it once was.

“Now there’s some expectation just knowing what we know children can do,” Braks said.

She’s convinced kids can learn the fundamentals long before they enter the classroom.

“We’re actually looking at things that will help get kids ready for kindergarten,” said Braks.

According to the Washington State Report Card, only 51.5% of students are considered “Kindergarten Ready” in all six areas of learning.

Those include language, literacy, physical movement, cognitive, social emotional learning, and math. The report shows math being the most difficult.

“We can find books that work on those topics and then we have some activities during our playtime that relate to that,” said Braks.

“Coming to things like this helps me learn things as a mom about what we can be doing at home,” said Corbitt.

It’s a reminder to both parents and kids — you’re never too young to start learning.

“I definitely see those things being instilled in him and fostering a love for it and a desire to learn more,” Corbitt said.

To make things easier for parents, Washington lawmakers introduced House Bill 2865. The bill focuses on making sure parents are given the proper information to help their child be ready for kindergarten.

The bill passed the house unanimously and now needs to go through the Senate.