Southington residents have been very vocal either for or against
all day Kindergarten in our public schools. I have read with interest many
different opinions, and I would like to take this opportunity to offer some
facts for your consideration.
Ten states have already adopted full day Kindergarten for all
children. The New Hampshire Department of Education study found the following:
Ten Good Reasons Why Full-Day Kindergarten is a Good Idea
- Learning time is increased by 80% (3 hours) compared to a half-day program.
- Daily transitions are greatly reduced, creating a more relaxed approach to the day for both children and parents.
- Increased class time allows for the integration of core curriculum areas with theme-based learning.
- A greater balance is created between one-to-one instruction, small group instruction and whole group instruction.
- Child-to-child social interactions are greatly enhanced.
- Allows greater opportunity to tailor academic curriculum to best meet children’s individual needs.
- Affords the opportunity to enrich learning with additional educational experiences such as field trips and special guest presenters.
- Additional class time allows for more emphasis on the development of the whole child.
- According to a New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) study, more time in kindergarten classes leads to: Increased high school attendance, better performance on standardized tests, fewer placements in special education programs, and lower retention rates.
- The DOE study concludes that children with more time in kindergarten classes are more frequently able to support themselves through employment and show fewer arrests as adults.
Finally, the Massachusetts non-profit, Strategies for Children, Inc., has done research on the benefits of full day kindergarten. They have a three page booklet, available here: http://www.strategiesforchildren.org/eea/6research_summaries/07_FDK_Factsheet.pdf
The reality is that education is a fluid form. There are many government organizations with opinions and influence on the curriculum, amount of time in school, and who attends. The average Southington citizen is not going to be able to change law makers minds on what should be taught and what is developmentally appropriate in Kindergarten.
It is what it is, and we, as parents and educators, have to ensure that our children are ready for the expectations of what Kindergarten really is, not our fictional ideal of Kindergarten. Kindergarten curriculum is much different than 30 years ago. Children are expected to learn more, and teachers are expected to teach more, in a very short amount of time.
Should we short change Southington students because some people have an idealized vision of education?