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Half day vs full day kindergarten

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
It's enrollment time for school and I am having such a hard time making this decision! My first instinct was definitely to go with half-day. My son has been in preschool for two years, but it's only 9 hours a week. However, the more I learned about half-day, the less I like it. Basically, there are 23 kids, one teacher and 2.5 hours to cram all they need to learn in. My son is somewhat shy and I think he may get lost in the shuffle with such a short & speedy schedule. The full-day program has 3 recesses plus lunch, and they have time for art and music. It's a longer day, but maybe it would be better? His preschool teacher thinks he might do better in the slower pace of full-day. Any thoughts on this?


Stephanie, mom to 4.5 yr old Neil and one year old Reid
post #2 of 13
How long of a day is full day? The half day seems really short! I thought half day kinder was usually more like 4 hours!
post #3 of 13
My son is getting dressed for half day kindergarten right now!

I like half day kindergarten. My daughter was in half day too. At our school it is only 2.5 hours. I don't think they rush through learning at all. They just don't spend as much time on lunch, snacks, rest periods, recess, bathroom breaks, and lining up to go places. Homeschool moms I know say they can do a days worth of school work in a few hours, it makes sense if you consider how much school time is not spent on learning. I think it makes for a nice transition from home/preschool to full days in 1st grade. I don't worry about the lack of recess because he has lots of unstructured time at home.

On the flip side, I wish they had time for art and music. I think it also makes for a heavier load for the teacher. Our teacher is responsible for 34 students because she has two half day classes. But there are only 16 students in my son's class, and there is an assistant there for part of the time. The student teacher ratio you described would worry me more than the length of the day, honestly. Kindergarteners need so much 1:1 time, and as you said, you do not want your son lost in the shuffle.

One more consideration, if it matters to you. My son is in afternoon kindergarten, and it drives me nuts. It really breaks up my day and limits what I can do with my two yo. No zoo, museum trips, extended shopping, even playgroups, library story time and just visiting friends who live farther away are all off our schedule this year.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your decision.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for giving me your 2 cents. Half-day really is 2.5 hours momsgotmilk4two here in our school district. 4 hours would definitely be better. Karimom, I can see how homeschoolers would have no problem getting through a days worth of work in a few hours. But unfortunately it is a different story when there are 23 children. I was a bit appalled too to hear how large the class is. Apparently, they will have a teachers aide for one of the 2.5 hours. But still...Private school is out of the question. They cost about $700 a month!!

As an aside, how much pressure is there on your child to learn to read? I can't see my son being ready for that until he's 6-7(he's a bit of a late bloomer). A couple of women at work were telling me he will need to know how to read by the time he leaves kindergarten. That was news to me!

I hate making decisions!

post #5 of 13
My dd's K was half day, and it was about 2.5 hours. By the time they get off the bus, get rid of the boots and coats, put away their stuff and settle down, it's time to go home. I really wish the district would go to full day K. Dd was completely ready for full day. They cram a whole lot of stuff into half a day, and I think my kids would do fine with a more relaxed pace and a full day.
post #6 of 13
I hate 1/2 day Kindergarten for all the same reasons mentioned above.
post #7 of 13
When is his birthday? If he will be in the younger half of the class age-wise, I would vote half day. Actually, I'd vote half day regardless but especially if he'll be younger in the class. My dd1 went to full day (NOT my first choice but it had to be done to get her into the great school - no half day there and your best chance to get in is in kindergarten). The first few months were pure hell - she was excited about school, did great academically, but would get tired and easily frustrated by the last half of the day. It was not fun. She'd come home and take over an hour to get back to normal. It was just too long for her to focus - even with all the recess, lunch break, snack, etc.

I vote to go with the easy transition of half day (from preschool). Most kids are not developmentally ready to do full day at age 5. Smart enough, sure. It is not at all about that - can they handle full day? I don't perceive half day as rushed and full day as relaxed.

Good luck deciding - I remember spending hours upon hours making this decision myself.
post #8 of 13
My dd, who could have easily handled full day K, was one of the youngest in her class.
post #9 of 13
I've been debating the same thing...

my situation is that due to a divorce last year, I have gone from at home mom to going back to school and next year applying to grad school. Added to this I started an internship, and all the while with a 1 y.o. and 4.5 y.o.!

I had planned on homeschooling up until the day I knew the divorce was going to be final. I was hard-core into unschooling my kids...

My situation, I felt, forced me to enroll her in PK, which I was very sketchy about but ended up finding one I really loved for her. My daughter just loves going to school, and now I'm not sure what to do. I no longer have the time I used to have with her, and she just seems to thrive in school. She is learning how to read and write on her own (not taught in her Preschool- they are more developmental), and she just loves the socialization. She just seems to bloom in school!

So now I am debating whether or not to have her go to PT or FT kindergarten. If we stay in the area, she'd go to public kinder, 3 hrs a day, 5 days a week. (she currently goes MWF 3 hrs/day and always wants to stay in the after school program another 2.5 hrs)

If we move from this area, I am not comfortable with the public schools, and I would put her in a private school every day from 8:00 to 2:00 (or 3?)... this seems too excessive to me but I am trying to see it through her eyes and what she would enjoy most, rather than what mom wishes she could have done at this point.

I don't think I'm much help with your decision, but I just wanted to let you know that I, too am battling with this decision. I'm kind of leaning towards FT, it seems like a great program for her!!
post #10 of 13
My dd started full day kinder...and at first, was she tired...by Wed night, I thought she'd fall asleep at the dinner table!!!!
But now, she's really adapted, and loves it. They bring out a cot after lunch recess, if the kids want to lay down, they can, others sit around a circle, and teacher reads them a book...it's really a good schedule....

post #11 of 13
Originally posted by momsgotmilk4two
How long of a day is full day? The half day seems really short! I thought half day kinder was usually more like 4 hours!

Here we have 1/2 day K and it's from 8:30 to 11:10. I'd prefer full day myself.
post #12 of 13
My ds is one of 6 out of 26 that go half day. He didn't want to go full day. Plus it would cost me $270 a month to send him full day. I don't pick him up until after lunch and recess, so he goes for 4 hours.
post #13 of 13
hmmm... I'm having the same dilemma. My five year old daughter (december birthday) is in a waldorf nursery right now, full days M, W, and Friday and we love it! However, next year she will be in Kindergarten and the options are half day M-F or full day M-F. I'm afraid my reasoning is selfish... I think half days would be best for her, but I will have a new baby and just can't see driving her to school, going home and picking her up again in a couple hours, then going back to pick up my 2nd grader! Also, of course the half day is a lot less money.

I wish I could decide (and not feel so guilty at the same time )
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