Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.
Why don’t all school districts, across the country, have full day kindergartens?
Spring is the time of year when parents usually register their children for the upcoming kindergarten year. For many parents, whose school districts still have half-day kindergartens, planning for the upcoming year is a logistical nightmare—especially when their children clearly shows signs of kindergarten readiness. They struggle with the complexities of work schedules and getting young children enrolled, and safely transported to and from appropriate half-day care.
Academically, most educators agree that it does not make sense to have half-day kindergarten. The kindergarten curriculum has become much more intense, yet all half day "K" academics must be jam-packed into a two and one half hour time-slot! There is little time for play; little time for exploratory learning... the pressure is on, for both the children and the teacher.
The whole concept of kindergarten was based on smoothing the transition from home to school. Over the years it focused on children playing, getting along socially, and beginning formal education. However, in 2011 most children come to kindergarten already having experienced a full day of pre-school or day care.
As a first grade teacher, I highly endorse all-day kindergarten. It makes perfect sense for academic and social reasons.
Even though school budgets are being cut to the bone, all-day kindergarten should be a priority for its positive effect on young children as they start their academic career. What do you think?