Half Day vs. Full Day

This is a hot topic. As a certified teacher and a mother, I have my own opinions on half day vs. full day kindergarten.  I have one kiddo who is almost a first grader and another one who will be entering the Big K this upcoming school year.  In our area, there are school districts that have changed to full day kindergarten but most are still half day.  Our school district is only half day. 

I have shared my thoughts on this topic with lots of people and have decided that maybe this would be a good topic to create some discussion so its time to write about it.  Personally, I believe that we should have full day kindergarten.  I am okay with high standard for our kiddos.  But I think we are asking the teachers and the kiddos to accomplish too much in a 2 1/2 hour day. 

If you know anything about the school day, you know that just because you are in school, does not mean you get that you get a full day of learning.  It doesn't matter if you are there for half day or the full day.  There are so many distractions. You have specials for the kids to get to.  In our school, K gets 3 days of specials...Music, Gym and Library.  All great experiences but they take away from learning time. 

Then you have to take a break to have snack.  And of course, these kids need to get outside for a few minutes and run off some energy.  I have no problem with either of these activities.  I am just saying, they take away from the time that is given for the teacher to teach our little ones. 

The biggest challenge I feel is the behavior problems.  As a teacher and a mother who helps out in the classroom, there are so many disruptions throughout the day due to poor behavior.  Often there are a few children who take up so much of the teachers time with redirection and consequences that the rest of the class is just sitting around waiting for the instruction to begin again. 

Let me be clear, I do realized these kiddos are only 5 or 6.  Yes, they are still young and need to be kids.  I agree.  My son is learning things in kindergarten that I was not taught until first grade.  He is reading real books and doing real math.  Adding, subtraction and working with money.  What I remember about kindergarten is learning the alphabet, playing, and learning my address. If they are going to keep pushing our children to master more and more then I feel very strongly that we need to provide more time in the day for this to happen. 

If the kiddos had a full school day, there would be ample time to learn, play, practice skills, have snack and  go to Gym/Music/Library.  The behavior problems will still be there but the teacher will not be so hard pressed for time so I don't feel the other students will be missing out on as much instruction.  These interruptions wont be as time costly because there is still more time in the day. 

Okay, I've shared my opinions on this topic.  What do you think about Half Day vs Full Day Kindergarten?  Leave a comment and lets see if we can have a good discussion.

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