WaKIDS, child care licensing reports submitted to legislature

DEL submitted reports to the state legislature on two important bodies of work: child care licensing improvements and our kindergarten readiness pilot. Both reports were due on Jan. 15, 2011.

Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS)

WaKIDS is a kindergarten transition process that allows families, kindergarten teachers and early learning professionals to gather and share information about incoming kindergarteners. WaKIDS is being piloted throughout the 2010-2011 school year in 115 classrooms around the state, with approximately 2,600 kindergarteners. Click to see the report from DEL and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction about how the pilot was designed, implemented and recommendations for next steps.
WaKIDS information is gathered through:
  • A teacher-family meeting where they discuss items such as the language spoken in the home, family traditions, and a child’s likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses
  • An assessment of the child in four domains:
    • Social and emotional development
    • Cognition and general knowledge
    • Language, communication and literacy
    • Physical well-being, health and motor development
  • Meetings between early learning professionals and teachers to share information about children.
This information helps kindergarten teachers plan lessons and support each student in the best possible way. Data from three piloted assessment tools was collected and analyzed by the University of Washington, where staff are leading the research, data analysis, technical support for teachers and assessment materials. Click here to see the preliminary data report submitted by UW.
The preliminary results suggest that more than a third of those children participating in WaKIDS enter kindergarten below expected skill levels. In the area of language, communication, and literacy, nearly half of the children enter with skills below the expected grade level. While only preliminary, this important data that will help teachers, families, early learning professionals and policymakers understand how to move forward and help kids succeed in school.
For more information about WaKIDS, visit www.del.wa.gov/wakids
Child Care Licensing Report
The 2010 supplemental budget directed DEL to develop a plan for how the agency can improve our child care licensing practices. These improvements should be focused on how DEL can increase efficiency, enhance relationships with providers and improve the quality of child care in Washington.
In its report, DEL’s recommendations include allowing non-expiring licenses, increased investment in child care licensing technology and moving toward weighted standards. Click to read the full report.

The plan collected feedback of parents, child care providers, DEL licensing staff, and early learning advocates through a regular work group and a series of online surveys for licensed child care providers at www.del.wa.gov/reboot. Because of necessary investments, it is estimated the full plan would take 10 years to implement.
In many ways, child care licensing already has a strong foundation in Washington. Data from the 2008 Market Rate Survey (which DEL conducts every two years as the state’s lead agency for the federal CCDF) show that the majority of licensed child care providers are satisfied with their licensors, and feel comfortable working with their licensors to ensure they offer safe, healthy care. The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies ranks Washington’s child care licensing rules and oversight as among the top 10 in the nation, for both centers and family home child care (third in the nation for family homes and ninth for centers).