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Full-day kindergarten can be 'life-changing,' improves scores, later success

Some lawmakers, parents resistant to longer kindergarten

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  • jer Orem, UT
    March 17, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    I would be very cautious about extending early education. There are two sides to every story, what's the other side of this one?

  • livestrong Springville, UT
    March 17, 2011 10:32 a.m.

    With all due respect, Ms. Ruzicka is not an educator. I agree wholeheartedly that children who CAN have a mother mentor and tutor and play with them at home should have that. Most children in Utah unfortunately do not have that, which is why all-day kindergarten makes sense. It's the at-risk children we are trying to save, not the ones already doing fine. Parents who don't want it for their children can opt out. We did that with our child in another state, because we wanted to teach her for her kindergarten year at home.

    But some families don't have that option. If it's day care or kindergarten, which is better for that child's learning and development?

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    March 17, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    There's an issue NO ONE is even discussing on this topic - classroom space. The school my wife teaches at in Herriman has eight sessions of Kindergarten in four classrooms. There aren't four empty classroom that will magically appear to house these children. Every school in the state will have to be retrofit to add more classroom space. Has no one thought about that?

  • Cat Centerville, UT
    March 17, 2011 10:49 a.m.

    CHS 85 - not every school is out of space. Our Elementry School only has 2 morning kindergarten classes and 0 afternoon. I would love all day kindergarten. My 5 year old is so ready for it. Besides if the Eagle Forum thinks that I should be spending more time with my kids at home maybe they could pay for me to do that so I don't have to work. My now 14 year old could have benefitted from all day instruction. She might have struggled less in school. She does well now, but it has taken many years to get there.

  • Scott1 Draper, UT
    March 17, 2011 11:08 a.m.

    I agree with Cat. I feel it is unfair that my children don't have this option to pick if we felt it was right. Maybe we should apply it to all grades. Make all the smart or wealthly kids stay home until the "at-risk" kids catch up.

  • jackstraw Manti, UT
    March 17, 2011 11:18 a.m.

    Speaking as a parent with a child in All day kindergarten it is a great thing! We have 3 adopted kids from Taiwan the oldest in Kindergarten and two more that will be in Kindergarten next year. The difference the oldest is making in the language, reading, counting, etc.. Is incredible. He be nowhere near as far along if he was only going to school for 2 1/2 hours as he was in the morning Kindergarten as he is in all day!! I hope the continue it and that our 2 younger ones will also be in all day Kindergarten. They learn more, they learn faster, and they have a lot more personal attention from the teachers.

  • Scott1 Draper, UT
    March 17, 2011 11:39 a.m.

    "He be nowhere?" Jackstraw could have benefited from all-day kindergarten, too. Sorry Jackstraw, I couldn't resist. I know what you meant to say, but had to rib you a little bit.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    March 17, 2011 12:10 p.m.

    I disagree with the notion that public schools create a right of de facto babysitting for every parent in the country. The fact that both parents might work outside of the home is a family issue, and not the school's problem.

  • Scott1 Draper, UT
    March 17, 2011 12:42 p.m.

    Who said anything about babysitting? I already pay a lot more taxes than the parents with "at-risk" kids. Now my kids cannot attend as much school and receive the great help offered there. Where and when does this train stop? Seriously, why not go a step further and apply this to all grades? Maybe the smart junior high kids should not be allowed to be taught by the teachers who are more enthusiastic or put in more effort.

  • jackstraw Manti, UT
    March 17, 2011 12:47 p.m.

    Scott,

    After I posted it and read I had the exact same thought. I was having a rather good time laughing at my self.

  • sally Kearns, UT
    March 17, 2011 12:59 p.m.

    I guess those who grew up in Idaho in the 1950's who did not even have kindergarten would be considered losers? I'm one who considers it my responsibility to prepare our children for their future contribution to society. The schools are the supplement to what we teach. I've read our family histories back to the 1600's. This tradition has been passed down for many generations. Full dependence on government ideas are not my idea of wise use of time and resources. If I had the opportunity to raise our children again, I would teach them at home.

  • jackstraw Manti, UT
    March 17, 2011 1:16 p.m.

    Scott,

    After I posted it and read I had the exact same thought. I was having a rather good time laughing at my self.

  • GB Silver Spring, MD
    March 17, 2011 1:27 p.m.

    Regarding the studies that show that full-day kindergartners do better academically (at least in the short term), OF COURSE that is true. But that doesn't prove that full-day kindergarten is the best way to go. It all depends on what one believes a child's childhood should be like: more school or more home/play. My own view is the latter, but I can see how the former might be better in some cases, especially if the latter isn't going to happen anyway (e.g., at-risk kids).

    I don't think that "reducing childcare expenses for working parents" is the government's job since it amounts to coercing people to pay someone else's expenses, so I hope that reason does not enter into (or remain in) the debate.

  • linleyk Paris, ile-de-france
    March 17, 2011 1:42 p.m.

    My son had to do full-day kindergarten when we lived overseas, because there was only 1 bus for all grades K-12. My son struggled with the length of the school day. Finally, his teacher suggested that I pick him up at noon some days. Then he was fine. My son did not fall behind from a shorter school day. In fact, he graduated with honors from high school at age 15 and with honors from college in physics and pre-med at age 18. The simple truth is that some children are not emotionally ready to be away from their parents at age 5, regardless of their intelligence. I think that the kindergartner is better off at home for half the day. The 5-year-old is finally ready to learn to do things around the house that lead to good life skills. He is ready to learn morals from his parents. However, if the parents work during the day, I believe that kindergarten is better than daycare.

  • Mom of Six Northern Utah, UT
    March 17, 2011 1:43 p.m.

    I used to be one of those parents who did not agree with all day Kindergarten...not anymore. The gains made by kids in this program is incredible! I have seen the results myself as a student teacher working with all day Kindergarten, and then working with the same students the next year. Often those in 1/2 day programs were the ones behind!
    To all those including the Eagle Forum who believe the parents should spend more time with children...that would be great in an ideal 1950's society. However, this is not 1950. We live in a world where we as Americans need to compete globally. What you may have done in Kindergarten even 15 years ago is completely different from what your kids and grandkids are required to be able to do. Gone are the days where kids have cookies and milk and take naps in Kindergarten. Kindergarten students are required to read, write and do simple mathematics, by the end of the school year.
    If you are a parent who has the time to be with your child and get him/her ahead ...wonderful! Unfortunatly, most parents are not able to do that these days.

  • JMHO Southern, UT
    March 17, 2011 2:22 p.m.

    Our experience with all-day kindergarten was negative. Our daughter had a hard time going to school all day long and then was too tired to do homework after school. I know education is important, but do we really need kids hating school at the age of 5? I like the idea making it optional. We chose to send her for a couple of months, it wasn't working out socially/emotionally and we chose not to continue. I would hate to think we would have been forced into all-day kindergarten when it wasn't working.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    March 17, 2011 3:07 p.m.

    I don't think I'm emotionally ready to be away from home for a whole day.

    I guess we have to send kids to school earlier, so they can do better in school, so they can do better in college, so they can get a better paying job, so they can afford to send their kids to day care and better schools, so their kids can grow up to do the same thing. Or, we could all just relax and let kids be kids.

  • LoveTheNews Centerville, UT
    March 17, 2011 3:07 p.m.

    Let's get honest here, in many cases people want this just because they are looking for a cheap babysitter. Also, during the immigration law discussions people want to tell us that there is no cost to illegal immigration, now they want to add a huge financial burden to our already underfunded school system by adding all-day kindergarten classes to especially help kids who don't speak English. I think there is something wrong here.

  • nautilus San Antontio, Texas
    March 17, 2011 3:09 p.m.

    I had two of my children go to private school kindergarten. It made a big difference. Children are so eager to learn and giving them a full day of kindergarten is a huge plus! Nowadays many children go to pre-school. Why not have all day kindergarten since they are so ready for it anyway.

    I think children get bored in kindergarten because they are not challenged to learn more and wasting their time with half-a-say school is only delaying/ extending their ability to learn.

    Children can learn several languages early as well. It sounds like a great idea and for schools to offer full day kindergarten.

  • Terrie Bittner Warminster, PA
    March 17, 2011 3:32 p.m.

    We have children today who have no clue how to entertain themselves. They can't sit down and puzzle out a problem or just sit quietly and think. They can't be given a box of junk and think of a fun project to do. By over-scheduling these children we take away everything childhood is for. Childhood is when children need to play, to develop the imaginations we've tested out of children, and to teach them to entertain themselves. They will often choose education, but studies are showing that children given more time and freedom to explore the world without adult direction actually achieve more in the long run.

    Let's let children be children. They need play, which is a child's official job. Learning develops from true play. I say this as a mom who taught her children only fifteen hours a week and they still read at college level by fifth grade. You'd be surprised what children in a good environment can learn. Teach the parents, not the children.

  • jimmyjones Provo, UT
    March 17, 2011 4:07 p.m.

    The other side of the story is that it is true that academic achievement plateaus after 3rd grade. There is no additional benefit to pushing academic expectations on youth. If you look at the trends with children they are starting school at younger and younger ages and the course load is increasing in intensity. This is very interesting for me and I have recently been doing a lot of research on this topic. What happened to letting kids be kids? Studies will also tell you that the best way for kids to develop intellectually is to let them participate in unstructured play. More school is not the answer.

  • jimmyjones Provo, UT
    March 17, 2011 4:14 p.m.

    More schooling is not the answer to greater scholastic achievement. I have done research on this topic and found results to the contrary of what this article was saying. Most developmentally appropriate activity for young children is unstructured play, not more schooling. They will hit a plateau in after the 3rd grade and there will not be any additional benefit. What ever happened to kids being kids. While some kids may thrive in an academically intensified environment this is not the norm. The Hurried Child By David Elkind shows much research contrary to this article. It is a great book. If you really want to see the other side of the story I'd recommend it.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    March 17, 2011 5:19 p.m.

    I am so glad that I didn't go to kindergarten at all. I had a great time visiting with various relatives while my mom was teaching school when I was that age. Our oldest daughter went to all-day kindergarten, and it just made her tired. She had a harder time with school than her siblings who only had to go half-day. No doubt there are children who benefit because their parents don't have better arrangements for them, but that shouldn't put the burden of financing all-day kindergarten on the taxpayers who have to pay for it. Much of the problem is a result of having a huge population of parents who didn't learn to manage resources well, hence need more income.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    March 17, 2011 7:54 p.m.

    Why have families? For the sake of learning, why not build schools with dorms and have students live there. We can call the jail cells-classrooms and teach, teach, teach.

  • VoterToBe Meridian, ID
    March 17, 2011 7:56 p.m.

    The Just4Mom blog did a piece on this a while back, and my response hasn't changed. Full-day is amazing.

    Both me and my sister went to full day kindergarten. When we moved here, my two younger brothers didn't. Both brothers read substantially later than me and my sister (we come from a bright family, my sister read at 3 and 1/2 and I read at age 2, I attended Challenge K-8 and my sister opted out) at ages 5 and 6. We also dealt with kids our age better. I might point out that, whatever the mom's feelings, most kids are raring to go at age 5 to school--not the half baked, lazy half-day thing, real school. I say let them. There once was a very famous man (Hint, his initials were G.B.H) who said, rightfully, "Get all the education you can".

  • barbararidinglowe Goshen, UT
    March 18, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    My granddaughter was in full day kindergarten in 2008-2009. She loved school and her teacher. The only thing that was hard on her was the need for rest after a day of school. She adjusted well and it gave her a love for school and learning. she is now enjoying a normal second grade experience and is doing very well in school.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    March 18, 2011 11:03 p.m.

    Isn't it something how Norway has a higher literacy rate than our country, and yet they don't teach reading until seven years old.