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My Case for All Day Kindergarten

Girl 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?

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#7 Angela Heishman 2011-07-30 02:27
I just posted a question because I do live in a district with only half-day kindergarten. I work in a district with full-day kindergarten. The district that I work in can clearly justify the additional costs because many of our students (30% of our families live in poverty) needed that time to "catch up" with their peers who have the kindergarten readiness skills. The district I live in believe it is not necessary because their students have achieved the status of a blue ribbon school (over 92% are proficient or advanced on state assessments). I would love them to attend full-day kindergarten at the district that I work in, but worry about them transitioning back to their home school. Many of the parents in my home district do not seek the full-day option thus my twins will be "the new kids" in the first grade class. They deal with separation anxiety in new situations so of course, I am struggling in deciding on the best option for them. Child care is not an option since both sets of grandparents are fighting to spend time with them in the afternoon. Any thoughts with this sitaution?
#6 Katana Hawks 2011-05-10 18:53
whole day--To prepare a child socially, emotionally, academically, and physically for first grade, a whole day is a must. State standards, county standards, and school expectations can't be addressed in a shorer period of time. Parent work schedules dictate a full day school schedule. With such rigorous expectations, it is a shame that many Kindergartens have all but abandoned the 'kitchen', 'block', and 'living centers'. To rear a well-rounded, social, responsible child, these centers are a necessity in my opinion. Personal interactions have been replaced with pencil and paper too much.
#5 substitute teacher 2011-04-28 21:00
1/2 day, definitely. Kindergarteners are now doing first and second grade work. I think this is why our kids don't have any social skills. Kindergarten used to be a time for adjusting to a world outside the home. A chance to enjoy friendships and learn conflict resolution is a far more useful tool than cramming the three Rs down a 4 to 5 year old's throat. Once children learn to get along with others and are able to take direction willingly from adults other than parents, the learning skills are more productive. Learing is not just parroting information but being able to work together to learn cooperatively. Logistically it may be difficult for working parents to work out day care but children will be much more well adjusted. That is definitely worth something.
#4 Carol Smith 2011-04-28 20:31
There is NO WAY everything that we have to teach children could be done in 1/2 days. There is barely enough time in whole days. Some don't realize you have to factor in lunch time & outside time as well. They as well as us have to have a mental break at some point. Also, many don't realize that K students are doing 1st grade work in just a few weeks after school begins. Now days grades are bumped up a year, (1st does 2nd grade work...3rd does 4th etc.) Everything is so fast paced, & has to be in order to get it all in 180 days. If parents would work on behavior at home, educators could get their jobs done much easier.
#3 Lori 2011-04-25 15:54
With all the mandated testing kids are facing by third grade, all day Kindergarten is a necessity - and states and school districts should fully fund it, not just offer it as a tuition-based alternative to free half-day programs. The expectations of what a Kindergartener should know have increased greatly since my 15 year old was in Kindergarten. My 6 year old is now in all day Kindergarten and I'm amazed at what these kids can learn, if they are held to high expectations.
#2 Lynn C 2011-04-23 15:17
I liked the idea of half-day Kindergarten when my son was finished with preschool... after all, he'd have from age 6-18+ to spend a full day in school. BUT, once I became of what the Kindergarten cirriculum is like nowadays (a far cry from the play time & rest time I had during half-day kindergarten!), I couldn't believe any school district could possibly expect the children to learn what they needed to learn - and a teacher to be able to teach it all - in a 2 1/2 hour time span!! It's insane and completely unfair to teachers & students! There should no such thing as half-day schooling beyond pre-school.
#1 susan b 2011-04-22 12:10
good information

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?

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The voting for this poll has ended on: June 25, 2016