Questions of Kindergarten: Full Day versus Half Day
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A post from LifeasMOM Contributor, JessieLeigh
About this time of year, notices start going home to the parents of 4 1/2 to 5 year olds; it’s time to start registering for kindergarten.
In my town this year, it’s a very hot topic. At story hour, birthday parties, and outside the pre-K classroom, mommies can be heard debating. Why? Odds are good that next year’s kindergarteners will be going full-day rather than half-day.
I’ve heard many arguments. There are lots of proponents for both sides. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’ve decided I’m truly okay either way.
Here are some reasons to embrace your town’s kindergarten program, however they may do things:
Your child won’t be as overwhelmed and exhausted in the beginning. The majority of children entering kindergarten aren’t used to going to school every day of the week, much less all day. Some have never had any preschool experience outside the home. A half-day program may be an easier adjustment.
At least one of your child’s bus trips will be with other small children. It can be less intimidating to send your child off with a couple dozen five year olds than a bus full of “big kids.”
You won’t have to pack lunches or rely on what the school’s serving up. It can be easier to just feed your child at home and know exactly what he or she is eating.
You can still fit in some “daytime” outside activities, like story hour or tumbling class, etc.
If you’re a stay at home parent, you get more time with your child. I confess this is the biggest reason a part of me hopes our program remains half-day. I selfishly don’t want to let her go yet. The fact that I have another child who will be transitioning into full-day as he heads off to first grade doesn’t help matters…
Your child will be on the same or similar schedule to any older children you may have. This can simplify bus rides or drop offs considerably.
You won’t need to arrange as much childcare if you work outside the home. Should this be the sole reason a town moves toward full-day programming? In my opinion, no. Still, it can’t be ignored that it is a real perk for many families.
You will have more “one on one”, “one on two”, etc. time with younger siblings. Later born children sometimes miss out on some of that!
Your child will be well adjusted to attending school full time before heading off to first grade. That transition has to happen at some point; your child will just do it a year sooner.
Your child will have more time to play with peers and socialize. This is the number one reason I can get behind full-day kindergarten. The expectations in public kindergarten have changed drastically since the days you and I attended. There are significant academic goals for our children. Added to that, you have teachers who are trying to get a whole group of young children (some of whom have had no group learning experience yet) into a routine. There is bound to be lost time. Sadly, free-play time is often what suffers. Having a full-day program offers more flexibility and opportunities for the children to play and socialize… two of the most important ways they learn at this age.
It remains to be seen whether my daughter will be going full day or half day next year. I am truly at peace either way.
How about where you live?
How does your town (or your home) do kindergarten?
— JessieLeigh is the mother of a former 24-week micropreemie and two full-term blessings as well. She is a determined advocate for the tiniest of babies, including the unborn, and a firm believer in faith and miracles. She shares about raising such a precious, tiny baby over at Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles.
My daughter goes to an all day Kindergarten and I love it!! She has a small snack before first recess. She knows what to do in the lunch room. She gets more one on one time because they are there long enough for the teacher to do that. She is advanced but is still challenged at her level. Other children are behind and are challenged at their level. Having more hours gives more opportunities to socialize, interact, get to know the ‘bigger kids’, have more time for their individual work, and she is way more prepared for first grade. I wouldn’t trade my all day Kindergarten and all she has learned this year!!!
This was very encouraging to read as i have put my five year old in kindergarten two weeks late determined that i would keep him home till it was mandatory he go but i realized it seemed that kindergarten was learning so much more and he didnt want to learn letters and writing from me but this transition has been the hardest for me as i want so badly to pick him up early and take him home i miss him so much, i feel like seven hours five days a week is so long so im trying to adjust he is the baby of our family, Joanna page
Thanks Jessica; you’re so awesome! I actually knew that; but they will put her right into 1st grade if we wait til next year. So it’s a tough decision. This has happened to two different friends who moved here from out of state and had not been to kindergarten. At this point I’m planning on starting her and if seems to be a problem homeschool her the rest of the year and hope she’s prepared for 1st grade.
Thanks again for the link. It’s been a few months since I read through it and I should again.
We live in Manhattan. The New York state cutoff is 12/31. I think they don’t allow parents to hold children back for a variety of reasons: 1-the public schools are overcrowded, 2-many parents here go to extremes to give their kid a boost, 3-the whole system is so huge that I’m sure it complicates things when parents hold children back.
I’ve heard of rare cases where the chil starts kindergarten and then the parents, teacher and school administrators all agree to hold the child back.
@Kiasa, well, according to this brief from HSLDA, compulsory education in NY isn’t until 6. http://www.hslda.org/laws/analysis/New_York.pdf
If it really concerns you, I would read up on it and know your rights. The way I read this, your daughter doesn’t have to start until the fall that she will turn 6.
This is such a huge thing for me. I’ve been so worried about sending my daughter to kindergarten this fall. I kept thinking I was a way over protective mom. That may be true but it did dawn on me some o the other issues coming to play. The cut off date here is 12/31 and she has an October birthday. And were we live, we can’t hold her back (crazy, I know). If we don’t send her to kindergarten she will be stuck in 1st grade next year anyway. And it’s full-day! It’s just too much! She will be the only kid who has not been to school yet. Most kids are in daycare, preschool or have nannies as early as possible here.
@Kiasa, Wow, I’m so surprised that you aren’t given a choice of when to start K with an October baby… we have that 12/31 cut-off here, too, but parents still regularly hold those fall babies off a year. I don’t think you’re over-protective, but don’t worry yourself sick over it either… it is amazing how well many children adapt. 🙂
@Kiasa, are you sure? What state do you live in?
When my son started kindergarten 9 yrs ago, we only had the fullday option, however, he only had school Mondays, Wednesdays and every 2nd Friday. He had absolutely no issues with handling fulldays.
Wow, I’m surprised with all the budget cuts that your district wants to increase school time. I went whole day and we took a nap. I was fine. My district is the only whole day in the county so lots of people try to get into our program. I’d prefer half day just because my baby is still so little. I don’t see the need for him to be a big school kid already.
@Heather B, My town is huge, area wise, Heather and we have 3 elementary schools. Bussing for 2 classes a day at 3 schools costs a small fortune. The “powers that be” have concluded that it would cost less to hire more teachers than pay for those midday runs…
@Elizabeth, That makes me so sad, Elizabeth, because I do believe kindergarteners should be having joyful days! I would not be very pleased if they lengthened the day solely to cram in more academics. I truly believe “play” is still a fundamental part of learning at this age.
I love our town’s full-day kindergarten. The time allows for a great mix of academics and socialization. My son has reading and math plus center time. He also has lunch (30 min), recess (30 min), phys ed and music every day.
Our local schools switched to full day Kindergarten a few years ago but in the state of Missouri children are not required to attend school until the age of 7 so Kindergarten is optional (most people probably do not know this). We homeschool, but I have several friends who have either skipped Kindergarten or picked-up their child at noon. Because of Missouri law there is nothing the school can do about this. Check your state law about mandatory school age, you may have more options than you realize.
@Amy-Cutting Coupons in KC, Interesting info to consider… thanks for sharing!
@JessieLeigh, You would be surprised at how many states don’t require school attendance until 7, here is a link to a list. http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/50/51/5051.htm
Also, having just finished “Better Late than Early” by Raymond Moore, I am on the late bandwagon. It is a older book, but has some great thoughts on why school would be better started later for “most” children. I echo the thoughts by another commenter about the quality of the time they spend outside of school. The home environment does make a difference in whether school would be better started early or late.
@jessica, Thanks for sharing that link- I love learning new things! Perhaps I was so unaware of the different age guidelines because I live in one of the few 5-18 states. 🙂
@Amy-Cutting Coupons in KC, thanks for pointing that out. It wasn’t until I started researching homeschooling that I learned about this kind of stuff. It’s amazing what we just assume is “the law” when it’s not.
@Amy-cutting coupons in kc, my son starts kindergarten this fall and we’re only full day kindergarten as well. In Our state it’s Also not mandatory and you don’t have to start until 7. I’m considering homeschooling. Thanks for info. I’m going to check if I can just pick up early.
i have 2 daughters, now 14 and 18. the oldest had a half-day of K and the 2nd had a full-day (her class was the first to have that). the biggest difference i saw in the two was the level of reading my youngest was doing when she finished K. huge difference.
My son is in a full day of kindergarten this year and it is just to long. They are not giving them more time for fun, they are packing in more learning. A 30 minute lunch and a 30 minute recess. No rest time, they are packing so much into his schedule that he hates going to school, and if you don’t like kindergarten what grade will you like? He gets on the bus at 8:30 am and off at 4:00 pm. I feel like they are pushing so hard they are burning the kids out. And if there was more play time I could see the sense of full day, but on this schedule I feel it is doing more harm then good.
I think what is missing from the 1/2 day -full day Kindergarten debate throughout the country, is the question – what is developmentally appropriate for the children? Most research on pre-k and K was done on inner city, low income children who were not exposed to many educational opportunities in the home (this is of course not true of all households in the dem ographic). These children benefited greatly from pre-school and Kindergarten. There is very little research for other demographics.
I think that the education system is trying to correct its poor statistics by starting kids earlier – pushing them. Full time Kindergarten began as an answer to working parents and to try to improve schools ratings – not to benefit the kindergartners themselves.
I wish that every district would offer the “pay for full day” option and the 2nd half of the day would be devoted to large muscle movement and creative play.
I will tell you that ALL the Kdg teachers I know say full-day is NOT a good idea at all…..they’ve all said they “lose” the children after lunch because they’re so exhausted, and don’t get much of anything worthwhile done—and they see that all year, not jsut at the beginning.
If the educators involved in full-day don’t think it’s worthwhile, then why is anyone continuing to justify it? Oh, yes—free childcare for the masses!
That’s just wrong.
One township near us did something worthwhile: Families who wanted to do so could see if their children could “test out” of a full day. Our friend’s child did, so is home by 11!
@Mrs. R., I am in complete agreement that “free childcare” should not be the reason for moving to full day kindergarten. I DO find it truly fascinating how different the reactions of the educators seem to be from town to town or state to state… sounds like very mixed reviews out there!
My daughter’s school starts the year with a half-day kindergarten, then in January switches to full-day. By that time, most kids are ready to do the longer day and it helps them make the transition. I think it’s the best of both worlds!
Where I live kindergarten becomes full time this coming fall. The largest reason sited is the lack of quality daycare. It has been pushed forward too quickly and has caused some pretty large issues concerning space in the schools for these little guys, the cost of extra teachers, etc, etc.. While I think that kids are pretty good at adjusting to whatever situation I have an issue with the fact that I don’t have a choice. Kids seem to be so rushed these days. An alternative I really like was 2 full days plus one half day.
Our school does half-day, or parents can choose full day and pay for it.
A district near us (not ours) starts the school year w/ half day. In January, they go to 2/3 day. In April, they transition to full day. I like this progression and it gets the children used to it gradually.
I know it’s different over there compared to here in the UK…
I went to “playschool” (pre-school) for half days when I was 2 1/2 and then full days (9am-2.30pm) when I was 3. I then started the first official year of school – “reception class” to us, which I think is kindergarten equivalent, in the Sept before I turned 5 (9am-3pm).
And all that extra time spent with kids my own age? I’m still painfully shy and don’t socialize well.
Most (if not all), the public schools around us do full day kindergarten. However, we chose to send our kids to a local public charter school and they do half day kindergarten, so we’re doing the half day route right now.
It’s working out really well for us and my daughter. She’s on track to transition to all day first grade this fall, and they still have recess, and enrichment classes each week (like Spanish, art, music etc).
@sara, Oh, I LOVE to hear about schools starting language programs early like that… best time to learn!
I’ve been really impressed with the extra things they do-like recently they learned how to do the Waltz in their music class, to classical music 🙂 They also just did a poetry ‘coffee house’ event, where all of the kindergartners went up on stage and recited poems, from memory, to parents/family. Everyone dressed up and it was a blast!
I like how we do it over here. We have full days (which I like, gets them in the groove for grade 1) but we don’t go for a whole week. For example, one week they go tues and thurs and the next they go mon, wed, and fri. I think they need to be put gently into school but yet somewhat normal so that grade 1 is such a shock. Know what I mean?
@Miranda, I think this sounds like a lovely schedule and, as a SAHM, I could get right on board. I’m curious if it presents challenges for families where both parents work outside the home? I just wonder if it would be hard to coordinate childcare with a rotating schedule. Thanks for sharing how you guys do school! 🙂
Very few moms here work outside of the home. In my town, were the average number of kids are 6, I could probably count on one hand the number of moms who work outside the home. It’s never been an issue for me because I was always going to be a SAHM. It might sound naive of me but I’ve seriously never thought about it so good question ;).
I’m 30, and I’ve lived in Florida since I was 2, so I spent all of my school years here. We gave ALWAYS had full day kindergarten! In fact, when my sister in law moved to California a few years ago and told us about half day, I was floored! Florida now offers VPK (voluntary Pre-kindergarden) free to all residents. They didn’t have this when I was in grade school, but it helps with the transition. It’s 5 half days a week, and matches up with the county schedule. It’s offered through both public and private/church schools, depending on of the school gets certified and payed 100% by the state no matter what the household income is. I personally see no problem with full day kindergarden as I am a result of it 🙂
@Michelle, I’m just a couple years older than you, Michelle, and I have to admit I’ve never met any “full day” K grads close to my age… thanks for sharing your experience!
The state of Ohio has mandated full day, but my district remains on half day due to budget restrictions. I do not want my son to fall behind which is one of the reasons we chose private school for him, check out my post here!
My children have done both 1/2 day and full day here. We made the transition between numbers 2 & 3 . However we have a pre-k here at school, my children got to go to pre-k 1/2 day before kindergarten. My youngest not only attending all day kindergarten during his year we switched to an extended day 8-4 , in stead of 8:30-3. This was an effort to make out time lost due to bad weather. Our full day kindergarteners had pe daily and music class once a week, They also had a nap time. This was very helpful with the longer day. Most of the instruction time was done in the morning leaving the afternoon free for the extras. While I liked full day kindergarten I was not a fan of extended day it was too long for the little kids
@Lisa, Ooh, 8-4 seems like a long day to me! Kids are so resilient, they probably do fine, but I think that would feel long to me. 8:30 – 3 sounds more reasonable for little ones, I agree.
We are lucky because we have a choice. You can go half, full or even integrated:-)
When we were living in OH the state only required 1/2 day K or you could pay for your child to attend all day K. We opted for the all day K. After talking to her teacher (who was FABULOUS) she really stressed that they are required to teach so much material and value the extra time in the full day program. She felt like in the 1/2 day they are trying to cram so much in such a short time, but are able to focus on more with the kids during the full day. So I would say there are certainly learning benefits, from a teachers perspective, for the full day program as well.
It is true, that it is helpful for the parents who work to have all childen going the same place at the same time. But as one who no longer has children in grade school, I wonder about expected advantages for them socially or educationally. What I do see in a majority of those I come in contact with is increased stress levels with the push to compete at an earlier and earlier age. It seems most children today have plenty of social activities….a constant whirlwind of outside-of-school classes, competitive sports, camps of one sort or another, city recreation department activities, sleepovers, church activities. Some European countries start their education at 7 years old. I have never read that they are behind American children. Each child is an individual and may not fit the mold of the mandates of government schools.
My son just turned 5 and we are currently struggling with what to do. Some schools in our area are 1/2 and others are full. The one he would attend is full day and I feel uncomfortable with that. I’m sure he would learn more and that the schedule would be more relaxed, but I just think its a bit young to be pushing kids so much. I’d rather him go to school and then come home to rest and play and do special activities with me and his sister. Our decision is made more difficult b/c he’s a home-body and really doesn’t like going to pre-school, so going to school everyday, all day is going to be hard for him. But maybe that’s all the more reason to push him??? Or maybe not, maybe he’s not ready.
We only have the full day option here and I was really nervous to send my 1st son, but he did great. Sure he was tired at the beginning, but he loved it and it was great for him.
They have an early lunch and an afternoon snack and get quiet time to read or put their heads down if they need to. Plus they do the art, music, PE, recess just like all the other kids at the elementary school.
This next year my 2nd son will start and will be the youngest in his class. I’ve had him in preschool 2 days a week this year to prepare him and I think he’ll do fine.
I think kids are pretty good at adapting and if it’s 1/2 or full day, they get used to it and do fine!
@Jen, I agree that (at least most!) children are very adaptable and do great despite our worries. 🙂
Great post! I have been going rounds with this whole kindergarten thing. My son doesn’t turn 5 until June. With him not turning 5 until summer-time – I think we are gonna hold him and start him when he is 6. Now that this issue is mostly resolved – I’m currently wrestling with doing home school or public school! So many hefty decisions to hash out! Praying!
Thanks for the insight 🙂
Decisions, decisions. Life is full of them. You can check out last summer’s schooling series for ideas about different methods of schooling: public, private, and home. Here’s the page: http://lifeasmom.com/category/learning/how-we-do-school
@Kate, I second Jessica’s recommendation of that series… and not just because I wrote one of the posts. 😉 Praying along with you that your family finds the perfect choice for your family and your situation. I truly believe there is no one “right” or “more righteous” choice. I’m confident you will find what works for your family!
I taught Kindergarten when our district switched from 1/2 day to full day. While the beginning of the year was difficult for some of my stuents to adjust due to length of day they all did adjust. Our school curriculum these days is so strict due to state testing and NCLB and students are learning so much more than they ever did at younger and younger grades.
Kindergarten use to be learn to socialize and adjust to school routines but not any more. I had ALL ofmy Kindergarten students going into 1st grade already reading & many of them leveled books for 1st grade. That is a huge advantage for them. All day Kindergarten in my opinion is a necessity not an option.
@Dina, Thanks for weighing in from a teacher’s perspective, Dina! I know that our school’s kindergarten teachers are actually very supportive of the switch to full-day as they’ve felt lots of pressure to “cram it all in” with the current schedule.
At our school, you pay for full-day. Either way, I LOVE half day. My daughter will be almost 6 when starting Kindergarten, but does not need to go to school all day. As for Sheila’s comment, my oldest 2 children went 1/2 day and had the advantage. They were able to do activities outside of school and learn by doing 1/2 the day instead of being in a classroom. They are both at the top of their classes (5th and 3rd grade now).
They have their whole lives to be in school all day. Of course, many don’t have a choice at their school. I feel blessed that we have a choice.
Our district has half-day for free, full-day with parents paying tuition (no state funding for full-day kindergarten). My daughter is soooo ready for kindergarten, and we’ve registered her for full day. I’m not so happy about the lack of naps, or the fact that they only get one recess, but this is what works for our family with working parents. (And we had to register our kids by the end of January/beginning of February.)
When my kids started kindergarten, we had the option of half-day or full-day, with us paying a fee for the full-day option. I felt that once they got to first grade, those that had attended half-day would be at a disadvantage to those who had attended full-day.
@Jan, We live in a university town, so not only do we have all-day Kindergarten, but no naps or snacks for the little ones either! I thought that seemed barbaric at first, but she does fine.
I have struggled with this topic all year long. My oldest child will be starting Kindergarten next year and the only option we have is full day. I am still not sure this is the right choice for our family. I think it is a lot for such a young child.
I have spent many hours wondering why they eliminated the 1/2 day as an option. I know the standards have been raised since I attended years ago but I still don’t think it is necessary to put so much pressure on children. They grow so fast what is the hurry???
@Kelley, Kelly…I spoke with my daughter’s K teacher, when she was in K and she valued the extra time she had in a full day program. The states require them to teach tons of material and in a full day program they are able to spend more quality time on each thing with the kids and not trying to cram it all in just a couple of hours. Both of my daughters love school and I think that begins in their earliest years of school. I appreciate they had teachers who loved teaching & were able to spend the extra time instead of being stressed out over getting it all in.
@AFTexan Mom, Thanks and I do totally get the struggle the poor teacher faces. I do understand the extreme pressure that exists for the staff. It just feels like so much. But I need to also say (not to take away from thoughts) that this is my first go around. I have others behind him so I am sure this coming year is scary for me more because it is hard to let go!
@Kelley, Kelly, I understand where you’re coming from. My youngest started K this year. As you already know, when you have more than one child, each one learns differently. Full day may be great for one child & 1/2 day may be another child needs. You will know best for them…I say go with that “Mother’s Intuition” and some prayer and your children will do great. One last thing I also kept in mind was…Will Kindergarten make or break my girls academic careers if they could only go 1/2 day? Probably not…So just go with your gut. Wishing you only the best in this decision.
Where I grew up it was full-day and I was shocked to learn that half-day is the norm here in Southwest PA. And that “half day” often really means “just over two hours.” Yikes. I work full-time so my kids are in a really good day care all day, every day. The idea of going from that down to a few hours just baffles me. And it will be a huge hassle to find a childcare arrangement that works. I can see how half-day is a great transition for children of stay-at-home parents, but for those who are used to daycare, it makes a lot less sense.
When are oldest son went to Kindergarten it was at a small private school and it was 1/2 day. A few years later that same school runs two programs 1/2 day or whole day. When our middle child was ready, we choose homeschool…
We still have 1/2 day because our district cannot afford full day. What about sending a very young 5 yr old vs a just turned 6 yr old to Kindergarten? We chose to keep our daughter back until 6 since her birthday is after school starts in August. I hope it was the right decision.
@Jan, I agonized over that decision for quite a while, and ended up holding my son out of Kindergarten until he turned 6. (His birthday is at the very end of July.) It was absolutely the best decision for him. He is now in 7th grade, in the Gifted program, and does absolutely wonderfully. I didn’t know it at the time I made my decision, but there are MANY other kids in his grade that were held out of Kindergarten until age 6. One of my biggest concerns when making the decision to hold him out was that he would be the oldest in his class, but I’m relieved to know that there were several other parents making the same decision I made. No worries.
@Jan, I, personally, don’t think there’s any one “right choice” in these circumstances… we all just need to know our own kiddos. I do know that many parents are very pleased that they’ve given their children the “gift of an extra year” and it can be so helpful to many kids. That said, my daughter’s best friend from preschool (with a Nov 3rd bday) headed off to kindergarten at age 4 and does beautifully. It just depends on the situation! 🙂
Our school district offers both options – with the parents paying the difference in cost between half and full day.
Our children attend private school, which has a 3 day whole day, 2 day half day program. We love it! The kids get gym class every day, music twice a week and a specialized art class once a week (that continues through the other grades as well). They adjust to full time school without being totally wiped out. And they get that extra time to play and socialize. Our kids’ school has a full day that is 30 minutes longer than the public schools to account of the ‘extras’ – gym, music, art, chapel. We are so happy with our decision to send them there! (And the tuition costs less than the ‘difference’ between full and half day kindergarten at the public school!)
@Lea Stormhammer, A neighboring public school system piloted a program like this and I think it’s a fantastic “happy medium”… really nice for the kids AND parents!
my oldest started kindergarten last year..it was ALWAYS been 1/2 day but last year they switched to full day! She was only 4.5 (turned 5 in October) so she was young to start as it was, I was worried about full day but she did great..she was tired by the end of the day but did great..I think we need to give our kids more credit than we do..they can handle more than we know 🙂
It’s full day here in Columbia, SC. It was 1/2 day when I was in school – a really long time ago.
Our district was contemplating the save thing. But the state budget made the decision to stay half day. There is no money to go to all day K.
Although my daughter will be one of the oldest in Kindergarten, she was ready for all day. But I am excited to have more time with her. I can also do more with her at home and activities like swim lessons and library story time.
@MemoryMakingMom Melissa, What is so interesting to me is that our district sites full day K as a money saver since they can ditch the mid-day bus routes. I find it fascinating how different the impact can be… or at least the perception thereof. 🙂
I am so glad that my daughter is now in half day. Next year they are not offering half day at all. I like that she can spend time learning at school in the morning and then have time to unwind , read or play in the afternoon with me.
Another debate- when should your child start kindergarten? My younger son will be 5 this summer, and we are sending him for one more year of preschool. I believe he has plenty of time, and one more year will help him prepare for the academic, social, and emotional challenges of all day kindergarten. The vast majority of kindergarten classes are all day here, so I don’t feel like that debate is as big here…
@Jenelle, Ah, yes… that is another big debate, indeed! I live in a state where the cut-off is one of the latest in the nation: 12/31. Soooo… we have lots of “young” students around here. I have my opinions (of course), but I honestly believe it varies so much by child. (For the record, I did NOT choose to send my Christmas Eve baby “ahead”… she was simply too young, in my opinion. :))
@JessieLeigh, WOW! 12/31 is shockingly late. I didn’t know anywhere made the cut off so liberal. Ours is 8/31.
@Jenelle, Jenelle–As a former middle school teacher, I really encourage you to hold a summer birthday, especially a boy! At the elementary level, we often see kids that are younger struggling to keep up in academics with peers almost a full year older, but they usually do catch up. However, when they get to MS and even the first year or two of HS, boys especially can be way behind in maturing. This can effect friendships, athletics, academics. Many brain studies have shown that kids retain more knowledge and learn more after puberty. As an August birthday who didn’t start until 6, never have I wished my mom would have sent me sooner. I am debating right now on whether or not to send my mid-May baby to school at 5 or 6?
I agree, another tough one! 🙂 Our daughter turns 5 only 5 days before our Aug 30 cutoff here in AZ. After talking to tons of people (many of them school teachers) we’ve decided not to start her this year. Her birthday is just so close to the cutoff, and had she been born on her actual due date, she would miss the cutoff?! I figure, they have their whole lives to be in school. I’m looking forward (I think?! lol) to her at home for another year. And then she’ll start off kinder as one of the older kids, and I’m ok with that. Of course, there are lots of opinions out there about it, and everyone has to do what’s right for them! The decision feels right for us, so we’re going with it! Good luck to everyone else out there in the same boat…so much to figure out!!
While all the public schools have been doing all day/everyday kindergarten for quite some time in my area, my daughters’ Christian school has transitioned in the last five years from a Tues/Thur, Mon/Wed/Fri all day program to a 3 days a week for the first semester and then 5 days a week for the second semester.
I think largely these changes are at the urging of parents who otherwise are putting their kindergarteners in day care. Half day programs which required even more shuffling of parents or a special kindergarten bus route were an even less popular option and expensive for the school
My son is in all day K this year. I think the time to play and socialize is a huge advantage. The academic expectations are so much higher than the used to be for K. In half day, every second needs to be cirriculum filled. In full day, my son has 2 snack times, rest time, lunch and recess in addition to any free time they get. The teacher has much more flexibility and time to individually spend with each child.
This is a great post and yes, you’re right. It’s a very big topic among moms.
My daughter started Kindergarten this year and it’s been full day Kindergarten. The first several months of school, she was emotional, moody, and just plain exhausted by the time she got home from school. I’m glad we got that transition out of the way now, rather than in first grade. We’ve forced weekend naps to happen throughout the school year though just to give her some much needed extra rest.
Additionally, she’s already reading at a first or even a second grade level. Having a full day of Kindergarten has been great for her academics. She’s learning so much and so fast!!