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Full day kindergarten

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Our school district is preparing to switch from half day to full day kindergarten, which doesn't appeal to me. I was hoping to get input and opinions from others.
post #2 of 26
A subject worth discussing for sure! I believe that for most 5 yr olds a half day is more than enough. There is developmental info. to back this up. Some children seem to adjust to it just fine, however. My worry is that children will adjust to just about anything, given time.
post #3 of 26
My gut instinct is also no. And I work in the schools! : I wouldn't want my child in a full day kinder program unless there was a nap/rest period in the middle, after a good long leisurely lunch and romp, two good long (20 minutes each) recesses and it was developmental rather than readreadread. But I would always prefer the half day. IMO, kids are saddled with so much so early, why make it even earlier?
post #4 of 26
Oh, this is a HUGE issue for those of us who work in public schools. In my particular school, we have half day kindergarten (8:25-12:25) for the first 6.5 months of school. In mid-February, after the vacation, we go to full day kindergarten (2:40 dismissal). The teachers feel that this gives them more time to help the students meet the grade-level standards, and they also find that after more than a half of the year with half-day kindergarten, the kids are ready for full day. It is worth noting, however, that the trend at my school is for children to begin kindergarten when they are closer to, or already, six years old rather than 5.
post #5 of 26
for kids that need childcare, it could be fine - they're just shuffled from before care to school to aftercare...but with nap and snack and recess...gosh they might as well be home with me!! Super academic kindergartens bother me...not all children are ready, some struggle and are discouraged or medicated. And I don't see that it's helping test scores. It does help families that have two working parents...but I think it should be an option but not required...it's not appropriate for every child. If my school district did that (and they are, but they are increasing kindergarten age from 5 to 6) I would strongly consider private school for kindergarten and regular school for 1st grade.
post #6 of 26
Our district is phasing in all-day kindergarten, starting with the most "needy" (low income, non-english speaking, free lunches) schools. About 60% of the county schools now have all-day K. My youngest is in K this year and I am so glad that our school is not yet on the all-day list. I would have paid for private school for the year just to keep him half day. I am selfish, I want him home with me as much as possible for as long as possible. 5 is just too young to be in school all day, IMO.

Another issue, at least here, is where to put all of these kids. The schools that have gone to all-day K have had to start housing classrooms in "portables" , these are trailers installed on the grounds. The school administration refers to them as "learning cottages":
post #7 of 26
Clarity, it is an "option" to keep your child in full day kindergarten- in the sense that you could choose to pick her up at lunch time instead of at the end of the day. Just as you could choose to go on a family trip and have your child miss a whole week of school. As a parent, those are choices you can make even though the school/district doesn't present them as such. But you'd have to consider you child's perception of that decision, of course. And as for academic kindergartens...at least in my state (CA), all of the academic standards are being bumped down lower and lower. Teachers can't stand it, but in order to prepare the kindergarteners for first grade expectations (which, themselevs, are way too high), the teachers have a lot of work to do.
post #8 of 26
I think one of the dilemmas is this: it used to be that kindergarten was preparation for "real school." Now because of the increased focus on academics, k-garten is seen as integral and full days are needed to get them ready for 1st grade so they don't fall behind. Now preschool is being thought of as essential to "get kids ready" for k-garten. I wonder when this mentality will stop. Will there be mandatory toddler programs to "get kids ready" for preschool?

I am wondering when our country will begin to recognize that one of the reasons why so many children are not "ready" for school, is because they have way too much on their minds and have had to cope with so much in their little lives. So many children have so little time with their parents because they are already in full day programs, and may go home to rushed, stressed parents. Or they may go home to drug/alcohol abuse, physical abuse, etc. Or they may be home all day with drug/alcohol abuse. IMO I would be hard pressed to find a well nurtured, attached child of attentive parents who wasn't "ready" for kindergarten in today's culture.

sorry, my morning rant!!!
post #9 of 26
Only 2 towns in my county have half day kindergarten, mine and one other. Most even offer optional free preschool (a few half days). So when I thought I'd still be working days I took my Moms offer to send DD to full day Kindergarten at a Catholic school. Also, DD had been in full day daycare until 6 months prior and missed the full days. She was going half day, 3 days a week and hated leaving, asking to stay longer. Fine. So the new Catholic school was supposedly morning class, afternoon nap, and relaxed play learning. Then in January, no nap, but relaxed play. WELL, the school itself was a disaster, but not due to full days. BUT her bus came at 6:50 am although school began at 8:10- what a ride! It was too much. Those who have read my threads know the many reasons she is no longer there. So, I switched her to public school, which wouldn't have been an option if I was not working nights, as half day childcare is so much more than Catholic school out here. So it is half day, but she loves it. Actually, she is so sad the good school is so short!

My point: It depends on the child, the school, the curriculum. And realize, you can delay your child beginning school a year if you choose. Personally, I wish I didn't need to work at all, but currently we are not making 75% of our bills, even with me working and now his unemployment!
post #10 of 26
Bravo, Lauren! You have hit the nail on the head. Kids have a lot going on these days, and even in families that have a stay home parent, the stress can come from over-doing the programs or having too high expectations of the children.

Full day kindergarten is a lot. It is as much as a small child can handle. Everything else needs to be put aside for a few years. That is okay for some parents, but not for others. Besides the child, the school and the curriculum, consider the family. Full day kindergarten works for some families. For the rest, it is worth asking your school board to provide alternatives and flexibility.
post #11 of 26
Here has been my experience with full day kindergarten.
It has pros and cons like anything else. First let me say that we have been blessed with an awesome teacher who has taught the children age appropriately. I am the room mother, volunteer and spend a lot of time in the classroom so this is from my personal experience.

Some children are just not ready for full day kindergarten. I have noticed that the ones with late spring or summer birthdays fair worse. They often dont have the maturity to do an all day thing and are quite tired. The children with Fall and Winter birthdays seem to handle the full day better, seem less tired and more focused. This is just my observation so no one jump me!
Kindergarten is far different than what I experienced 2.5 decades ago. There is more than just coloring going. These kids are learning and they are EAGER to learn. As I said we are lucky that we have a teacher teaching developmentally appropriate. Early morning these kids are on task, loving school, wanting to learn to read, sing, and do math. After lunch its a little down hill. For the first few weeks kids actually were falling asleep at their activities, especially those who were still taking naps. There are a few kids, the younger ones, who are still in need of a nap and their tiredness does affect their learning. I havent seen boredom at all. The kids are constantly busy and when its time to do free play they use a lot of what they are learning in their play time.
My daughter is doing well with a full day of activities, but it took about two months for her to get used too. (she attended a half day preschool the year before)
post #12 of 26
Onthefence, I think you make some great observations. One thing that occurred to me is that there is probably a reason why the younger ones are more tired and not doing quite as well as the older ones-- that seems to prove that there is a developmental issue at hand with the full day k-garten issue. Otherwise it would be more random which children were doing poorly. Your observation that older seems to do better means that it is wiser for them. When kindergarten was "invented" I'm sure it was structured for 1/2 day for very good reasons, and these were developmental reasons.
post #13 of 26
Originally posted by lauren
Onthefence, I think you make some great observations. One thing that occurred to me is that there is probably a reason why the younger ones are more tired and not doing quite as well as the older ones-- that seems to prove that there is a developmental issue at hand with the full day k-garten issue. Otherwise it would be more random which children were doing poorly. Your observation that older seems to do better means that it is wiser for them. When kindergarten was "invented" I'm sure it was structured for 1/2 day for very good reasons, and these were developmental reasons.
I believe the reason there are now full days is because more mothers are working outside the home and it was pushed by parents to save on daycare. I've noticed here that the daycares are now set up more like school once the children turn three because it makes the parents feel more comfortable in their choice to put them there. The thing is, three year olds are not ready to be that structered and strict. My son goes to preschool but it is more like a Montessori, it also fits his personality well. He likes being on a schedule and because of his special needs needs to go through the same motions each and every day to function. I have noticed though that a lot of children dont do very well in that type of enviroment and act out because of it. The same with kindergarten. I have noticed that the children who truly can't handle the full day act out more and cause more disruptions in the classroom. This is a maturity thing. Another thing I have noticed is that the boys tend to act out more in the afternoon than the girls. I cant give you any scientific reason or developmental reason for it, I just see this regularly and made a mental note of it.
I will say that I believe kindergarten is good to ready children for first grade, whether it be full or half days. It is not mandatory in our state so some parents chose to skip it or homeschool their children for that year. I am 100% for homeschooling, but I am of the opinion that if you are going to send them to traditional school in the first grade you should prepare them accordingly. I have watched and heard some pretty sad tales about how behind those children are and how they lack the maturity to really behave properly in a traditional setting.
So far we have had a wonderful school experience and my daughter loves it. I was going to homeschool but I really dont believe my husband and I could have accomplished what her skilled teacher has. (and my husband was a teacher) I only wish there was a balance for all the children and unfortunately there isnt.
post #14 of 26

I personally feel that school days are too long for all children. Having said that, though:

Both my kids went to (private) all day kindergarten. In our area, all private kindergartens are full day (so they can charge full tuition!). My ds was 6 y.o. in September when he started, and he had a very difficult adjustment to being there all day long. He was very tired even though they did all the core academics in the morning, and just had fun stuff - art, music, science, Spanish, etc. in the afternoons. In a six hour day they had a 30 minute recess in the morning, a 45 minute lunch period, and the last 45 minutes of the day was called "P.E." but was really just the kindergarteners playing on the playground together!

In contrast, my dd started the same kindergarten (same teacher/school) at age 5 (she had just turned 5 a few days before school started). She jumped right in - loved it, never went through an adjustment period, and was not overly tired when she came home.

Conclusion - completely depends upon the child how well they will adjust to all day kindergarten.

My biggest problem with all day kindergarten was that I missed my kids - 6 hours a day was too long for me to be away from them! LOL!

post #15 of 26
I hate it.
We're providing daycare.

I truly believe it should be graduated; ie. start w/11:30 dismissal, move to 2:00 dismissal after Christmas and regular dismissal time at the end of the year.
It's simply too much for them. And, all the research shows that any gains made by full day K are lost by 3rd grade; ie. it's the same as half day.

We work hard in the mornings and just play inthe afternoons. Learning games, but still...

PS: We are NOT allowed to have naptime (so we sneak in a quiet reading time w/pillows) and had to fight really reallyhard to get an afternoon recess time.
post #16 of 26
BusyMommy_ I am surprised tohear that you aren't allowed nap time. The school my daughter goes to requires it up to second grade. All the kids have rest mats and must lie down for one hour.They can sleep or look at books.
post #17 of 26
Smart school!
They are so burned out after lunch & recess. We used to have naptime during which they could read quietly or simply nap.
UH OH I was told that if these children needed naps,then we shouldn't have gone to a full day program!

post #18 of 26
We have full day kindergarten... my oldest did well with it, although she was extremely tired at 3pm when I picked her up. My 3y/o, I fear, will have a slight problem with it, as she does not like being away from mommy... I am really hoping that changes in the next 2 years... otherwise I am basically foreseeing myself having to put her into a 1/2 day preschool to prepare her for full day kindergarten! How unfair to us SAHM's!!! Why should I have to pay for preschool to prepare her, when it should be 1/2 day kindergarten to prepare her? Ah, we'll cross that bridge when we get there....
post #19 of 26
I agree that if my child still needs to nap for an hour, I want him/her to be doing at home with me, not spending an extra hour at school to "get this in."

I so wish schools would offer a choice. As openskyheart says, different children from the same family will react differently to the challenge of full day. My son had a really hard time, but I'm pretty certain my daughter will do fine with it. If schools (with enough resources and students) offered a half day option and a full day option, I bet they'd find that different parents took advantage of the one that best suits their particular child.

Public schools always seem a little more rigid than that though. The rule or the "way" things are done, always seems to have to be completely uniform. That's why kids with differences rarely seem to get exactly what they need, unless the teacher happens to be terrific.
post #20 of 26
lauren, I respectfully diagree about public schools being "more rigid." In my public school, as in all public schools, we are not allowed to "kick children out (for lack of a better phrase right now) simply because their parents are picking them up at lunch time rather than allowing them to stay for the full day of kindergarten. This does happen in my public school, and we tolerate it. A private school can much more easily expel a student in this case, or tell a parent that this is against school policy. Also, public schools, by law, HAVE TO accept students of all needs and abilities; private schools do not. Most private schools require entrance exams, even of entering kindergarteners! If a child doesn't pass, she doesn't get admitted. So, I think that since private schools are able to select the types of students they enroll, they automatically minimize the wide range of "differences" amongst students, thereby making it easier for them to meet everyone's needs. The needs encompass a smaller spectrum. I realize this is slightly off topic, but I felt that as a current public school teacher and former teacher of private school, I needed to respond.
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