Kindergarten-ALL DAY registration for the fall-and a worried mom - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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K registration for the fall is now. I am a former teacher turned stay at home Mom. K in our town is FULL day. I DO NOT agree with this at all and I'm having a very hard time with signing my child up for something I don't agree with (K is how first grade was when I was a kid-academic-they even have spelling tests). We moved to this town because of the schools a few years back -before it became full day. Moving is not an option and there are no private part time k in our area. I did hold my child back as he would have qualified for K last year with a summer birthday. So, while yes, he will be on the older end......I still feel like the new all day K programs are robbing kids of their childhoods. Right now, I'm going into it with the attitude that I can pick up early each day if necessary and if it doesn't go well I can always homeschool him. BUT, he LOVES pre-school and his teacher and the small class size (6children) and so I'm not sure homeschooling is really the fair option either-however he will not know anyone in K as he attends preschool in a different town. What do others do? I feel like I am throwing my child to the wolves! I can't picture the cafeteria, the spelling tests, reading assessments, playground etc.-it makes me sick to think about it.  I have already been to the school, had a tour etc. I'm not sure if my issues are because I have been on the teacher side in a public school and I know too much or if others have these same feelings. It would just make more sense to me to have 1/2 day K so the child could adjust to the big school, big class size, new friends, routine etc and then in first grade stay all day. It would also make me feel better if there was more of a focus on play, centers, etc instead of all reading, writing and math! This is still 6 months away from now but I am already worrying........what happened to Kindergarten in the 30years since I went?? ugh.......

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#2 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 07:52 AM
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Do you know exactly what he'll be doing all day?


Our K is full day and while there is (obviously) academics, there's lots of PE, music, art, extra recess and time to just hang out (even a place to lay down if they need it).  They wouldn't get all those in half day K. 


The district we live in just switched to full days, but only 3 days a week.  We send our kid (and will send our youngest this fall) to a smaller school in another district.  Where they have full days 5 days a week.  And I was worried about how my oldest would handle it but he's done just fine.  Though I do work full time so my kids are used to being somewhere all day so we didn't have to go through that transition.


I'd ask what the day will be like first of all.  There may be less academics than you think.

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#3 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 08:04 AM
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My son has been doing all day school for a while now, Pre-school at the age of 3, pre-K last year and K this year.  He'll be 6 in March.


He loves it.


Yes, they do reading and spelling and writing and stuff but they also do music and dance and art and PE and LOTS of play ( currently about 3 hours of the day is free play in the garden or the soft play area or the library).   


I work full time at the same school so it's great for me, otherwise I would have to spend even more on day-care that we simply can't afford.


I think THAT is where it stems from.  Not many families have stay-at-home parents anymore and they need the full time kinder program to help out with the child care expenses.


Maybe they could let him go half the day?  Some schools offer both but they don't necessary advertise it.


To be honest my DS actually has more free time than I did in Kindergarten, and more fun stuff to play with.  Kinder was full day when I was in school in 1980 and we did the alphabet, numbers, science, manners songs, music, games, art, etc...and we didn't even have a very nice playground at my elementary school.  I recall SOME of the kids went half day in my kindergarten, but they were usually the youngest ones and they were almost always sad to go.

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#4 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 11:25 AM
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Like the previous posters have mentioned, it's not all academia all day long.  My kindergartener has about a half hour of "reading" every morning.  A third of the class is with the teacher learning letters etc for 10 minutes and the other kids are coloring at their table or playing an alphabet based game at another table.  They rotate stations every 10 minutes to avoid boredom.  It's not like they're being chained to their desks and forced to write sentences all day.  wink1.gif  They have lots of free time to play and do a lot of "centers" like I described above.  I was a little worried for my DD being in full day kindergarten based on her personality, but she has really blossomed.  You might be surprised at how well your DS adapts to full day kindergarten.  Sometimes I think it's harder for the mommies than it is for the kids.  (It was definitely harder for me than it was for my DD).

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#5 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 11:43 AM
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I feel like I was reading my own thoughts, worries, and fears when I read your post! I just started my oldest in mandatory, full-day kindergarten this past fall. I was SICK just thinking about all the things that he would be doing and learning without me. I worried about everything from his being bullied to him not being able to open his own snacks at lunch and having to walk to the bathroom by himself. I cried. A lot. I worried. Constantly. I sort of stalked his teacher and barged into her classroom the day before school started to introduce myself and talk over some of my fears with her. I was (am) neurotic. But I couldn't help it.


That was 5 months ago and so far, he is doing well, although he now seems to be acting out in ways that I'm not sure are typical or signs of anxiety. I totally feel for you and understand exactly what you're going through!


Unfortunately, I have no words of wisdom...only support and understanding. I'd be interested in hearing an update. Good luck!!!!!!!!

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#6 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 12:51 PM
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My kid is in half-day kindergarten and I am very frustrated with it because, unlike full-day, they do all the out-of-class specials (music, library, art, 2 days of gym, & computers) and have their regular activities (circle time, center time, snack) within a way shorter span of time. The half day is PACKED and the kids are always being rushed around from classroom to classroom. It has been a very hard transition, mostly because I feel like the kids don't get enough time to just hang out in the classroom and play. And this is a school that is very supportive of slower academics, working at a kid's pace, but I think the scheduling is insane.

We are moving to a new town which offers full-day kindergarten, and I do worry a little bit about adjusting to more things to do at school (like more lunch and recess time to navigate on their own), but I am relieved because I think the full-day schedule will allow for all of the same fun specials that are outside the classroom plus more academic/play time inside the classroom.

So, half-day is not always all that as far as giving kids time to breathe!!

raising my two sunshine children.

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#7 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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THANK YOU for your post! I have worried about everything you mentioned in your post and cried a lot too!We sound a lot alike-nice to know I'm not the only one.

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#8 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 03:18 PM
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My son is in K now, on the older side (turned 6 in Nov.).  I don't think he could have handled all-day (and every day) K last year. But at 6 - he's doing great.  It's true what others have said - yes, they do some desk-type stuff, but half the day is lunch, recess, specials (art, music, computers, gym, library), and there's "choice time" in there too, which is almost like free play. And all the kids are really in the same boat - they're young, they've never been to real school before, they need a lot of guidance - and they gave that to them, especially the first few weeks.  At our school they generally keep the K classes separate from the older kids - they get a different drop-off place and time, they have recess with only the 1st graders, etc. They started out the year very light on the "academics".  A lot of drawing pictures and after a while asking kids to label them with a word or two. I don't think they have spelling tests at all!  Only now, halfway through the year, I saw one paper come home where she asked kids to write down as many words as they could in some time frame. Not a test at all. Maybe your school is different, but I've found they are definitely working at the kids' age level.  I'll bet it will all be fine!

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#9 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 03:39 PM
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My dd did full-day kindergarten at 5. She loved it and had no issues - like some pps have mentioned, her day was mostly centered around non-academics - play, centers, art, music, outdoors, etc. Very little actual "desk time". If your son is already thriving at a half day preschool, he will most likely do really well making the transition to a full day.

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#10 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 04:29 PM
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My son has been in all day kindergarten since Fall.  He was a younger 5 but has done so well.  It isn't all academics, they do centers quite a bit.  A lot of kindergarten is learning the school routine--cafeteria, pe, library, art/music, etc.  In fact we did full day prek4 as well and it was wonderful.  You may not have the option to pull him out early every day--I know here, a pullout counts as a tardy and you can only have so many during the school year and then you can get in trouble/they can fail the child.

Cassie, mom to Alex(4/7/05), Aidan(7/12/07), and Andrew(8/18/08)

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#11 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 05:53 PM
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Mainemommy1, I feel exactly the same as you on this topic.  Our son turned six in Nov. and is now in K.  I had planned on him going to our public elem. school this past fall.  Last spring I'd gone to talk to the (then) K. teacher, check out the program, etc..  I wasn't thrilled with it because it seemed way more academic than a K should be (in my opinion).  But, it was 1/2 day so there would be plenty of time for him to play and be a child after his short day.  Well... fast forward a month or so (last spring), and we were informed that, for the first time, and from now on, K would be FULL day (no other option) AND, because it was a low enrollment (4 K kids), they would be COMBINED with 1st grade!  With ONE teacher!  Ummmm, NO!


Thankfully, there was a private K nearby that is 1/2 day and is still what I consider to be true K.  I.e. learning through play.  There is much outdoor/free play time as well as a schedule that allows the children to work individually and in groups on projects.  There is a K-enrichment program 2 days a week that extends the day from 11:30 to 2:30, which ds does, but while his day is longer, what that really means is he gets time to socialize with peers at a leisurely lunch and then even more free play time and then only 1 actual hour of true "K" program which is more academically inclined.  To me, this is ideal to prepare him for the longer days when he goes to 1st grade, while his little 6 year old body/brain gets more time to mature.


I HATE that Kindergarten is really more like 1st grade.  I think the educational system has seriously missed the boat on that one - and I'm not a teacher or in the educational system, just a mom... Sure, there are some 5-6 year olds who are ready for and will (thrive?/) enjoy a longer day with more stuff thrown at them, but most won't.  I believe fully that the reason for the shift to full-day K has much less to do with the welfare of the children than it does the benefit of the parents - most of whom need to or choose to work and the extra hours at school are free babysitting.  I really don't believe the children are better off in this scenario. 


I am truly grateful that we had the option for this 1/2 day K, though we do pay out of pocket for it and it makes our budget tighter, but for me this is a true necessity so we make it work.  If not for this option, I would have been exactly where you are. 


The only suggestion I would have for you is, in addition to getting him 1/2 through the day, perhaps once every two weeks or so, you could keep him out of school for the day.  This is K, after all, not grad. school.  The catch with taking him out of school is that he will be missing what his peers are doing and he may feel left out, etc.  It is also possible that he may really like it.  Follow his lead.  I'd also ask (if you are able) to volunteer in his class so that you can see 1st hand what is going on, see how he is handling it, etc. and act accordingly.


I'm really sorry you have to endure this, but I sincerely hope that your son's experience will have more benefits for him than you can possibly know now.


Best wishes,


Mama to DS born 11/21/04
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#12 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 06:20 PM
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Do you really think it is so different, now?


I had full time Kinder as a kid from the age of not yet 5 and we did the alphabet, basic reading, writing, simple math (through cookie baking and playdough making if I'm not mistaken), music, art, story time, songs and dance...I was in Kinder in 1980. Obviously the best place for a kid is at home, probably until the age of seven, but I know I wasn't the only one starting first grade before reaching six.  I wasn't the youngest in my class by a mile.


My husband started full day school at 5 as well...(though in Scotland they start 1st grade at 5 but the curriculum is identical to Kindergarten in the states) and it was also alphabet, numbers, tying shoes.


Really...I don't think it's as different as all that.


I mean, I get the worry and I totally understand it, and YES it is absolutely because parents need the tax-assisted child-care, but I am not sure that it is MOST kids who are not ready at the age of SIX.  I think by six most kids have the gross and fine motor skills to thrive in a full day program.


But you know your kid, OP.  If he's not ready, keep him in pre-school.

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#13 of 24 Old 02-14-2011, 06:56 PM
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You are not alone!  That was exactly how I felt 2 years ago.  I was lucky in that I found a private school with half-day kindy, and I am sad for you that you do not have that option.  I would call the principal, have a meeting, explain that you are a forner teacher and plan to incorporate learning into play at home, and broach the idea of picking him up at lunchtime 3 days a week, or all 5 days if that is waht you feel.


I have a friend who did the above for about half a year.  Then her DD was sad to miss lunch with her friends, so they started transitioning, and by April she was going all 5 days for full days, but it was gradual and happy for everyone.


You know your child best and what is best for him.  Also, in most states you don't have to take your child to school until they are 7 years old, so taking him for kindy part time is your option.  They will grouse at you that it is a disruption to the other kids, and the other kids will want to leave early also -- too bad!


Do what is in your heart.

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#14 of 24 Old 02-15-2011, 08:44 AM
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My daughter is on the younger end of her grade. She will be 7 in June and is in first grade. In our city, 4yo kindergarten is half day and 5yo kindergarten is a full day. She did 4yo kindergarten and loved it. Then she got to 5yo kindergarten and loved it even more. She goes to a charter school that focuses on all things literacy -- spelling, reading, writing, etc. I don't feel that it's too much. She starts at 8:25 and is done at 3:25 every day except for Wednesday -- they're out at 2:35 at that point. 

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#15 of 24 Old 02-16-2011, 08:17 AM
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sadly while i welcomed the half day K thinking it was the best for dd... it didnt work out that way.


because the teachers had so little time, they focused on academics and didnt do enough fun things for dd.


looking back and seeing what full day Ks do, if i had a choice i would go back and put dd in a full day K. the full days in our area did some awesome arts and hands on projects that dd missed out on. 


and i have come to realise K IS part of their childhood. dd loves the social aspect of school which makes it worth it for going there.


because of that i have not scheduled dd in many after school activities so she has free time to do whatever she wants instead of rushing. 

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#16 of 24 Old 02-16-2011, 08:54 AM
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My oldest nephew (will be 6 in April) is in full day kindy. This was the first year his school switched to full day. We were all a little worried about it. Especially as he went from half day 2 days a week to full day 5 days a week. But when my sister went for the "meet the teacher" type thing the teacher said that she was glad it was full day. She had a hard time getting everything that they were supposed to be doing in during a half day. My nephew does have reading and math and science, and things like that.But it's not really what we think of when we think reading and math and science. His first science unit was on butterflies - complete with one of those Bugville Butterfly Treehouses so they could watch the caterpillars grow and turn into butterflies, and then the parents were all invited to watch them set the butterflies free. He does get homework - usually one page - 3 days a week. It's simple stuff, counting, recognizing letters, writing letters. Now, more than halfway through, his homework usually consists of finding rhyming words, or which of these pictures starts with the same sound as the picture on the top type things. I don't know what your DS is like, but the thing my nephew hates the most about his homework is the part that you would expect kindy to be - he hates having to color the pictures. But a good portion of their day is computers, and art or music, they have PE every day - when I was in elem PE was once a week (and I'm talking all the way up to 8th grade) - they have an in class library that kids get to bring a book home every day, they go to the school library once a week. There's a lot of fun stuff going on. His school, for Christmas, had a show. The younger grades, k-5 were all in it. It was sort of a play about a talent show at the north pole. I imagine they spent a lot of time practicing the songs for that.


And one thing to keep in mind about pulling your DS out after 1/2 day every day is that he will be consistently missing the same subjects every day. What do you think will happen when he gets to 1st grade and needs to know the stuff he didn't learn because you kept pulling him out before he got there? Not to mention that, I don't know what it's like at your school, but for my nephew most of the fun stuff is after lunch. If we pulled him out after 1/2 day he'd miss the library, and music, and the free time to just play.

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#17 of 24 Old 02-16-2011, 09:22 AM
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OP, I think it will likely be okay. He sounds like a pretty typical little boy and you sound like a pretty typical nervous mom. It works out for most kids and it'll probably work out fine for your boy. Unless he has some special needs (in the generic sense, not the labeled sense) I think he'll be fine.


That said, I don't feel like full day K is great for all kids. My dd2 did fine in full day K. She had some separation anxiety at the beginning, but the teachers worked through that and she ended up loving it. The day wasn't too long for her at all. For dd1, though, half day K would have been ideal. I knew that going in though, and there just wasn't an option around here that I was comfortable with. She has a very intense personality and had very intense, dramatic, extended, over-the-top separation anxiety which I completely anticipated as she had the same in preschool. She would have done much better with a shorter loosely structured day, but that's not great for everyone. At any rate, I absolutely knew from dd1's super high needs personality that K would be a difficult transition for her. For a kid who doesn't have some similar high needs issues I think full day K usually works out fine. FTR, dd1 is doing well in 4th grade now so her rough time in K doesn't seem to have negatively affected her.


Hakeber, back in the olden days when I was in K, it was optional and was more like preschool, so yes it has changed a lot. I was in high school when you were in K.

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#18 of 24 Old 02-16-2011, 07:09 PM
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I'm a nervous wreck about dd starting K next fall too. And I have so many things working in my favor! I'm a teacher at the school (it's K-8 and I teach middle school), I LOVE my school, the K/1 teacher is great (even if her room is a mess, but I just chalk that up to it being her first year and she's still finding her footing), dd has been going to preschool part-time for three years and is totally thriving (she's there three days a week right now from 9-3:15), and she'll have several close friends in her class.


BUT I also feel like I'm throwing her to the wolves! When will I get to spend quality time with her? She still naps 2-3 hours a day right now, even after preschool, and gets a total of 12+ hours of sleep. We're going to have to turn her very well-established sleep schedule on its head, which will mean putting her to bed so early we'll only have a couple hours together after school. The class is so big (16ish) compared to what she's used to at preschool (8). I HATE the thought of having to wake her up before she's ready every morning and trying to get her into the car by a certain time. Right now if she's late for preschool it's no big deal, but school starts at 7:50 next year. How on earth am I going to pull that off EVERY DAY?! I can't even wrap my head around it. She wakes up at 7:30 or 8! Not anymore, I guess. And I feel like since I'm a teacher there I really can't be thumbing my nose at the rules. Tardies hurt the school's standing with the state, and I feel like I have to be a model parent (I know that's probably irrational).


But then I see the K/1 class studying panda bears and making life-size pretend panda habitats and I'm thrilled about it. I watch the little kids in art class and I'm reminded of how much I love our art teacher. I help out in the 2/3 classroom and think about how excited I am that in a few years, once dd has some school experience under her belt, she'll get to have that wonderful teacher. I know these K worries are not a unique experience for me. I know K teachers understand this! But it still scares the crap out of me!

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#19 of 24 Old 02-17-2011, 06:27 PM
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I'm a full day kindy teacher.  And honestly, the thing that worries me about your op isn't the full day thing.  I think that full day is fine for all of the reasons mentioned by above pp's.


It's the idea of giving spelling tests to kindy kids that's bugging me.  I mean, I don't take issue with teaching kids academics, but I take issue with how it's done.  In my class, we do have group times and work on academics like basic math and reading skills... we also have centers, and pe/music/art, library check out, a once a week yoga class, outside recess (weather pending).  Most of the academic stuff I do in hands on, real-life ways (i.e. our math group times involve learning concepts through manipulatives and then having the chidlren demonstrate those concepts with the same manipulatives).  I think I have used fewer than 5 worksheets this whole year (and we just started our third quarter).  And I think the idea of pushing conventional spelling on children in kindergarten is a bit overboard.  I mean, we work on learning about 25 sight words, and the kids do learn how to spell those, but I don't "test" them on it... and I'm all the time telling my kids that in kindergarten we don't worry about spelling.  We just worry about writing the sounds we hear in the words.  So for example, the other day I had a little girl write in her math journal "ISrdtiDBiyCloZ" (translation: I sorted by clothes... notice she represented every phoneme in the sentence in a way that makes sense, even if it's not conventional... I was so excited to see that particular writing example).  This is called invented spelling and is based on stages of writing development.


I guess basically, I think that most children will do well in a full day program, as long as it's developmentally appropriate.  If all they are doing is worksheets, and memorization all day long, then of course they aren't going to enjoy it or learn much more than how to fill out a form.  But if they are engaged in active learning  and play, then they usually have a great time and do well.

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#20 of 24 Old 02-22-2011, 01:29 PM
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He'll be fine.


I was exactly like you. Unless I went private, it's full day K here in VA. I really was worked up about it, but you know what? It was fine!


What I failed to anticipate was the how much mental growth my dd was going to have. She loves gym, art, music , PE, etc. Most of their day is fun stuff.


Relax. It will be fine, especially if he's going to be 6 yo. Mine was barely 5 when I put her in and she adjusted fabulously.

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#21 of 24 Old 02-23-2011, 08:49 AM
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I agree with the post above.  Part-time K has the same goals as full time, which means they have to get rid of centers and specials and art projects-- basically all the fun stuff.  Plus, K is the time when kids socialize the most and make some life-long friends.  My twins are in 3rd grade now and have a big circle of friends that all started in full-time K.  My boys were barely 5 when they started and had only had part-time pre-k, but they adjusted perfectly. I think you need to have faith in your little guy.  I say this with a smile, but to me, this sounds like a mommy-readiness issue rather than a kid issue. :) 


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#22 of 24 Old 02-23-2011, 10:17 AM
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Our school went from full day to half day and you know what they lost -- extra time outside, a longer snack time, an after-lunch rest period, extra PE time, and library time is shorter. He still has music twice a week, but art class for only half of the year.


OP, have you observed the classroom? They should welcome you to do so. It might not be as bad as you think :)

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#23 of 24 Old 07-30-2012, 07:24 AM
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My son is starting full time kindergarten in two weeks and i am a nervous wreck.  I saw your post and it was all my worries.  Did your child start school yet and how did it go?


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#24 of 24 Old 07-30-2012, 12:36 PM
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There was a good thread about six months ago with lots of posts about the difference between full day and half day K. And the truth was, the full day was a lot more fun with lots of goodies and socialization and the half day was an academic grind.


You might have to dig but many states technically authorize part time K on request so you might force the school to comply.  But again, it would be all academic all the time.

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