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Please help me decide: half day or full day kindergarten

March 11 2012 at 10:22 PM
Pink Dandelion  (Login Pinkdandelion)
*HFP Mommies*

Our school district has always had half day kindergarten. For next fall, they are piloting two classrooms of all day kindergarten amongst the 4 elementary schools in our district. They said they are doing this in response to parental request for an all day program. These spots will be filled with a lottery if there is too much demand. The other children will end up in the traditional half day program, and they are not sure yet but they think it will be morning only kindergarten for the half day program.

The principal said the curriculum will be the same, but that the full day may include extras like music and art.

In my mind, here are the pluses for all day K:

less need for after school care, but I will probably still need the after school program because I wont be out of work in time to pick him up

possibility of extra activities not in the half day program (but my son is ahead academically according to his current pre-k/ kindergarten teacher at the day care, and is mentoring other kids with their phonics, etc. so I am not worried about his academics)

Here are my minuses for all day K:

My son will have to be bused to a different school than his usual elementary to attend the all day program, causing him to have yet another transition when going into first grade and having to deal with buses, something we specifically avoided when we bought our home because I love the idea of being able to walk to all 3 schools (elem, jr. high and high school)

Id still like to have the option to have him home with me during the latter half of the day when I dont have to be at work

There is an additional fee of $3500 for all day kindergarten. Not that we wouldnt find the money, but it is not a small amount in addition to having to pay for the after school program, and my other son is still in full time day care.

Our district emphasizes that kindergarten is mostly socialization with light academics. It is a district known for great schools and education, and the half day program is the way theyve always handled it. Im really bummed because the kindergarten teacher at our elem. school now is great, and we dont know if they will send her to the all day program or keep her in the half day program. I liked her at the kindergarten orientation last week. The principal would not say where she would be going.

Thanks in advance for your wisdom!!


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