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Full Day Kindergarten Essay

Full day kindergarten should be mandatory and of no extra cost for all of the elementary schools. This will boost the children’s academic achievement. The children that are exposed to full day kindergarten will learn more in literacy and mathematics than those in half-day kindergarten. The students that are in a full day program get to spend more time on their math, writing, and reading activities. The full day students also get the advantage of being able to participate in gym, art, and music classes. The half-day students do not get to experience gym, art, or music class.

I have seen results first hand because I chose to put my son in a full day kindergarten versus the half-day. I chose to bring my son to a school that is located in Fridley so that he could receive the benefits of the full day kindergarten. The half-day program that Blaine offers has a very undesirable schedule for parents who work. The half-day schedule for Blaine elementary school is full days Mondays, Wednesdays, and every other Friday. I think that the earlier the educational intervention begins the higher the impact and the more likely the effects will be retained.

Other than the health of a child, I think that nothing should be more important than their education. Giving children the opportunity to be in a full day kindergarten program gives them opportunities that the half-day students do not receive. One of the opportunities is being able to spend more time on reading, writing, and math. The teachers also have more time to sit one on one with each student one or in small groups and work on these skills.

They also have a different theme for each month that they focus on. Some examples of the themes are the solar system, U. S.presidents, maps, and the celebrations around the world. Children also absorb things more easily when they are younger. Being a mother of a full day kindergarten student, I see the results of the extra reading, writing, and math that the teacher does with him. My son is one of the youngest in his class and he is reading at a first grade level. As for his writing, he attempt to write big words using phonics. For example, I came home one day a few months ago and he had written on his dry erase board “I see a red ladebug”. He also brought home a worksheet that he had written about his favorite fruits.

On this worksheet, he had written “watrmlon”. As far as his math goes, he is always measuring things in the house with a kid’s yard ruler. The themes that they work on each month give the students the ability to know what is going on in the world around them. My son came home from school one day and told me that there was a planet that was not considered a planet anymore. I did not know this and I was in complete awe. According to Debra Ackerman, “Children in full day kindergarten programs score higher on their achievement test than those in half-day programs.

Full-day kindergarten advocates suggest that a longer school day provides educational support that ensures a productive beginning school experience and increases the chances of future school success. In both full-day and half-day programs, kindergartners spend most of their class time working on reading, language arts, and math activities, but the total number of minutes teachers devote to specific subjects differs. For example, 80 percent of full day but only about 50 percent of half-day programs devote more than 30 minutes each day to mathematics instruction.

Sixty-eight percent of full day but only 37 percent of half-day classrooms dedicate at least 60 minutes to reading instruction each day. Perhaps most striking, 79 percent of full-day teachers read aloud to their students every day, compared to 62 percent of half-day teachers. Reading aloud is a critical activity in helping to develop children’s reading skills. Additional research shows children’s literacy learning is enhanced in full-day programs, as the full-day schedule provides a more intensive, ongoing, enriched language and literacy experience for the young child.

” (Ackerman) Children in full day kindergarten programs score higher on their achievement test than those in half-day programs. I asked my son’s kindergarten teacher, Ms. Janssen, what the average for reading was for her class. Ms. Janssen stated that the majority of her students are already in the first grade reading level as of the end of the second trimester. As said by the Indiana Association of Public School Super Intendants, “Full day kindergarten programs are associated with greater reading achievement gains during the kindergarten year than half day programs”.

(Plucker, 6) The students are graded on their writing and math abilities as well. According to the Kalamazoo Public Schools reports, “The group of kindergartners advanced in 2010 to first grade at Kalamazoo Public School, where 60 percent tested at or above the 50th percentile in reading on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills last April. That’s a 7-point increase compared to Kalamazoo Public School first-graders tested in April 2009, Rice said. On the Iowa Test Basic Skills math test, 52 percent of first-graders tested at or above the 50th percentile last spring, a 12-point jump over spring 2009.

The Iowa Test of Basic Skills are administered in schools nationwide and is a norm-referenced test, which means scores are based on how students perform compared to other test-takers. The Kalamazoo Public School results show that 60 percent of Kalamazoo students are in the top half of first-graders nationwide in reading and 52 percent are in the top half in math. ” (Mack) Children who are in full day kindergarten have better social and behavioral effects than those who are in half-day kindergarten. When children are in school for the full day they have more time to get to know the other students.

They get more time to interact together socially and they are learning while they are interacting. The students also get to go to specialists and they go with their classmates. Some of the specialists that Hayes Elementary offers are music, art, Spanish, and gym. Going to the specialist is something that the full day kindergarteners get to do and the half-day kindergarteners do not get to do. These students also get to spend more time with the teacher. This means that they will be less hesitant to approach their teacher.

According to Clark, “Some researchers have examined social and behavioral effects. According to researchers, a clear relationship emerged between the kindergarten schedule and children’s behavior. Teachers rated children in all-day kindergarten programs higher on 9 of the 14 dimensions; there were no significant differences on the other 5 dimensions. Other researchers who have studied social and behavioral outcomes found that children in all-day kindergarten programs were engaged in more child-to-child interactions and they made significantly greater progress in learning social skills”.

(Clark) In the kindergarten classrooms of Hayes Elementary, the students get into groups called centers. During this center time, the teacher takes a group of five students to a table to do independent reading and the rest of the students go to a center. The centers are groups of three or four students and the students get to interact socially while doing something educational. Some examples of the centers are writing center, listening center, leapster center, and art center. The writing center is where the students can write freely.

The listening center is where the students put on headphones, listen to directions, and write down what they hear. The leapster center is where the students get to play a handheld learning game that integrates math, reading, and spelling in the games. Finally, the art center is where the students get to draw and color what they want. When the time is up the students clean up as groups. A full day of learning offers many social and emotional benefits to kindergarteners. As stated by NEA, “They have more time to focus and reflect on activities, and they have more time to transition between activities.

When children are taught by qualified teachers, using age-appropriate curricula in small classes they can take full advantage of the additional learning time—social, emotional, and intellectual— that a full day allows. Further, research finds that children adjust well to the full-day format. ” (NEA) The full day kindergarten teachers plan and use the extra time in class well. The time in class is spent differently in both the full day kindergarten and the half-day kindergarten.

According to the research that the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, “The research provides evidence that time in full day kindergarten programs is different both quantitatively and qualitatively from how time is used in half day programs” (Plucker, ii). Full day kindergarten offers benefits to teachers. Teachers prefer the full day program to the half-day program. If there is a child that is struggling with something, the teacher has the ability to find time to help that student.

There is also more time to finish activities. According to Ms. Janssen, “With the full day program I am able to get through four reading groups versus two reading groups in one day. With the full day program we are able to go more in depth on our unit that we focus on in class. ” (Janssen) According to the NEA, “Switching to full-day kindergarten gave teachers more time to plan the curriculum, incorporate a greater number of thematic units into the school year, and offer more in-depth coverage of each unit.

” (NEA) In the half-day programs there is less time for multiple activities. According to Dr. Martinez, “Many kindergarten teachers favor full day kindergarten because they find it difficult to balance cognitive activities and affective social activities in the short kindergarten day. ” (Martinez, 2) Teachers also prefer full day kindergarten because there is more instructional time than that of a half-day kindergarten program.

As stated by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, “ Across all of the schools in the Indiana sample, the proportion of instructional time is similar across program types, resulting in much greater instructional time in full day programs, representing approximately 40-50% more instruction in full day programs than half-day programs”. (Plucker, ii) Teachers also have the benefit of getting to know the students and their parents better. According to Dr. Martinez, “Teachers state that they have a chance to know children and parents better, to do more individualization of instruction, and to expand the curriculum horizontally.

” (Dr. Martinez) There are so many benefits for the children. A very important benefit is that the full day kindergarteners have the opportunity to an easier transition into the first grade because they are already used to the full day schedule. The time that the students get to spend with the teacher is a great benefit as well. The extra time that is spent with the teacher is as much beneficial for the teacher as it is for the students. According to the research from Dr. Martinez, “Teachers thought children developed closer relationships and were more relaxed in the full-day program and felt more a part of the school.

Teachers indicated they were able to give more individual attention to students and that children had more time to develop both academic and socialization skills. Teachers noted they could work more on the continuing development of each child and felt children showed more advancement. Teachers indicated they felt closer to the children and that they got to know both child and family better. Some indicated in the full day they felt more flexible, were more relaxed and spontaneous, and felt better prepared to meet with parents. ” (Dr. Martinez, 6) The time that the students get to spend on activities is another great benefit.

According to NEA, “in a study evaluating teachers’ views on full-day kindergarten, teachers reported a number of benefits for themselves as well as children and parents. Participating in full day eased the transition to first grade, helping children adapt to the demand of a six-hour day. Having more time available in the school day offered more flexibility and more time to do activities during free choice times. Having more time actually made the kindergarten program less stressful and frustrating for children because they had time to fully develop an interest in activities.

Participating in the full-day schedule allows more appropriate academic challenges for children at all developmental levels. Children with developmental delays or those at risk for school problems benefited from having more time to complete projects and more time for needed socialization with peers and teachers. ” (NEA) Full day kindergarten offers more benefits to the students that are at risk and children that come from educational and economical disadvantaged homes. If the full day kindergarten programs cost money, as most do, they cost around 3000 dollars per child for the year. The 3000 dollars is charged to the parents of the child.

The children that come from the educationally and economically disadvantaged homes would not be able to attend because of the cost. These children are the ones that benefit from the program the most. According to the Indiana Superintendents, “Students at or below the poverty level enrolled in full day kindergarten scored statistically significantly higher in math and reading than their half day counterparts. Poor children enrolled in full day kindergarten programs tested statistically significantly above half day pupils on reading, spatial, and verbal skills, naming colors and letters, and identifying numerals.

”(Plucker, 6) Parents prefer full day kindergarten as well. I as a mother prefer the full day kindergarten program to the half-day program. One of the advantages is that I do not have to figure out childcare and who would bring my son to the childcare. Trying to figure out childcare and school between my job schedule would be undesirable. As said by Dr. Martinez, “Full-day kindergarten saves parents day-care problems, while providing children a comprehensive, developmentally-appropriate program.

Parents said that children often feel more stress when they have to go from a school situation to a day-care environment, where different rules and philosophies apply. Therefore, parents favor a full-day program, which reduces the number of transitions kindergartners experience in a typical day. ” (Dr. Martinez) Full day kindergarten also takes a huge cost out of many parents’ monthly budget including mine. Even though some people would be against this and say, “Why would I have to pay for your childcare? ” I would say that many parents including myself pay taxes too.

Their parents wanted them to have the best education that they could have gotten. Most importantly, I know that my son and many other children are getting the best out of their day while they are in school. They are having fun while they are learning. My son enjoys being in school. If he had a choice, he would go on Saturdays and Sundays. Children attending full day kindergarten spend the day learning instead of watching television or playing video games. Full-day kindergarten provides parents with better support for their children.

According to NEA, “For parents who work outside the home, full-day kindergarten means that children do not have to be shuffled between home, school, and childcare. For all parents, there is more continuity and less disruption in the child’s day and more time for focused and independent learning. One study of parent attitudes found that after the second year of a full-day kindergarten program, 100 percent of full-day parents, and 72 percent of half-day parents noted that, if given the opportunity again, they would have chosen full-day kindergarten for their child”. (NEA)

In conclusion, having full day kindergarten should be mandatory. There are many benefits of the full day kindergarten program. The benefits are not limited to the students. Teachers and parents also get great benefits out of the full day program. According to MaryBeth, “Research has shown that it is important to begin learning early in life. School systems that have implemented the academically based full day kindergarten are finding it to be successful. ” (Calvin) If I had to choose again if a child of mine was going to go to full day or half-day kindergarten, I would not even have to think twice.

A child’s education should be one of the most important things to think about. These children will be the future and they need a great education to get there. * Works Cited Calvin, MaryBeth. Expectations for Kindergarten in 2010. 3 February 2010. 3 March 2011. <http://www. suite101. com/content/expectations-for-kindergarten-in-2010-a196473> Clark, Patricia. Recent Research on All Day Kindergarten. 2004. 4 March 2011. <http://www. ericdigests. org/2002-1/kindergarten. html> Debra J Ackerman, W. S. Making the Most of Kindergarten. March 2005. 4 March 2011. <http://nieer. org/resources/policyreports/report4. pdf> Janssen.


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