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Kindergarten Attendance Matters

Helping your child to attend school regularly will lead to a successful future! Learn how you can help your kindergartener succeed by building good attendance habits.

The Importance of Kindergarten Attendance

[TEXT ON SCREEN] The Importance of Kindergarten Attendance.

EVIE, Kindergartener: My name is Evie and I'd love to be in kindergarten!

DAMIAN ORTIZ, Kindergarten Teacher: Kindergarten is such an important stage in their life. It's learning new skills. It's the framework of their path in becoming a student. It's introducing school life.

JUDE, Kindergartener: If I would miss kindergarten I'll be sad because I wouldn't see my friends.

ANGELA CRESPIN, Attendance Coordinator: Kindergarten is where they learn all the fundamentals. We used to think about kindergarten as daycare, well it's not like that anymore. They're learning all of the important fundamentals to move them on to first and second grade, so that they're actually reading in third grade. So it's very important for them to be there every day because if they happen to miss one day then it takes three days just for them to catch up.

SCARLETT, Kindergartener: Kindergarten is important because we have to learn.

ELIZABETH KISTIN KELLER, PHD, Parent of Recent APS Kindergartener, Scientist, and First Lady of Albuquerque, NM: I was blown away to see how much she learned over the course of the year. Both some of the basic stuff of what she was learning, in terms of reading and math. Then, I think, in addition to the academics amazing to see how much learning happens in kindergarten in terms of social skills. How to get along with other kids. How to work on projects together. How to share things. How to have conversations. How to understand where other kids are coming from.

ANGELA CRESPIN: There's an estimated one in ten students in kindergarten that are chronically absent. What I mean by chronically absent is a student who's missed 10 percent or more in the school year. So we have 180 days in the school year, if a student misses 18 days or more they're chronically absent, and that's 2 days a month. And parents don't realize it, you know, a day here a day there a couple of days here it adds up. So we really have to pay attention.

JACOB, Kindergartener: If I wouldn't come to kindergarten I would be sad.

CARRIE FARM, Kindergarten Teacher: So many of the skills we learn in kindergarten, whether it has to do with letters and sounds, counting, math concepts, I have found the best way that kids learn is with frequent incremental practice. So we do small amounts daily over the school year and that leads to mastery.

SCARLETT: If there was no computers, how would we learn without going to school?

ANGELA CRESPIN: Some parents think that if they go on vacation for two weeks that it's excused and that as long as they communicate with the school about this vacation, it's not going to impact that students attendance or academic performance. Well it does, you know, it's important to schedule doctor's appointments after school or before school so that your child doesn't miss out on those important activities going on at school.

ISHMAEL, Kindergartener: This is the place this step when done [In Spanish] I am sad when I don't come to school.

DAMIAN ORTIZ: What I've told parents about attendance is in order to be successful do you need to come and show up every single day and that's a general life the rule that I personally have. What I tell my students, every single day, the one thing you can do is show up every day. That's all we ask and from there whatever problem that comes up we're there we'll do it together. We're a team.

ELIZABETH KISTIN KELLER: You can't do this by yourself. Right? There is so much of a village of as needed for this to be successful and I think being able to reach out and ask for that help. To be able to mobilize the village of folks in your own network, but also within your school's network and the wider APS community. It is hard at this stage. It is hard when you are as tired as you are, being a parent of a five year old, to sort of bring together the energy to admit, right, sometimes, that you can't do it by yourself. But if we can muster enough energy and strength and realize there is no shame in asking for help on any of these aspects, we can all work together better.

DAMIAN ORTIZ: Having that relationship with parents because we're sharing their child together. I have them for 184 days out of the year and they have them a night. I have them during the day. So I make sure that I communicate that we were working together. What can I help them with? We have many resources here with APS, getting them with buses if they need it. I direct them to our school counselor to see maybe they need more assistance that I can't provide. So I just kind of let them know that they're not alone in this. That we are here to help them and that my door is always open.

JACOB: For more Videos!

JUDE: Subscribe for our Channel! Does that mean I'm going to be on YouTube?

[Off Camera] You might be!

JUDE: OH!

[Off Camera] Would you like to be on YouTube?

JUDE: YAH! Hey Ms. Farm? He said I would be on YOUTUBE!!! Oh my Gawd!!!

[TEXT ON SCREEN] Don't forget to... like, comment, and subscribe!

Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school and themselves. Start building this habit so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Good attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work.

Did You Know:

  • Starting in kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • Missing 10% (or about 18 days) can make it harder to learn to read and be successful in school.
  • Students who are chronically absent in kindergarten are less likely to read by 3rd grade. 
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.

What You Can Do:

  • Set a regular bedtime and morning routine.
  • Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
  • Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required shots.
  • Introduce your child to teachers and classmates before school starts to help them transition.
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
  • If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school counselors, or other parents for advice on how to make them feel comfortable and excited about learning.
  • Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
  • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.