Full Day Kindergarten programs
The reason children attend kindergarten today is so they can be taught a meaningful and balanced curriculum filled with skills and information. Teachers do this through age-appropriate activities that encourage the children to learn more (Marzollo, 1987). In order for children to develop the necessary skills for success in life, they need to attend kindergarten. In full day kindergarten programs more time is available to develop the necessary social and academic skills children need for success later on (“Full-day and half-day kindergarten in the United States”, 2004). Full day programs have become more and more popular in the past few decades. In the 1970s fewer than 15% of all five-year-olds in the US attended full day programs; in the 1980s it rose to 30% of kindergarten children attending these programs (Votruba-Drzal, Li-Grinning, & Maldonado-Carreno, 2008). In the 1990s it rose to nearly 50%, and by 1993, 54% of kindergarten teachers were teaching at least one full day class (Paciorek, 2002). In 2001, 57% of kindergarten age children were attending a full day program (“Full-day Kindergarten Pays Off”, 2003). Review of the Literature
Arguments for full day Kindergarten programs
Full day kindergarten programs that are taught in a good learning environment tend to offer a better learning foundation for children, and many important characteristics only found in full day programs are not able to fit into a half day program. The extended time full day kindergarten often boosts the opportunities for implementing these unique characteristics of kindergarten in a way not possible in the half day programs (National Education Association, 2006). There is an extreme need for full day programs in some parts of the country. Today in the US, there are an increased number of single-parent homes or homes where both parents work. This makes it necessary for children to be in school all day, instead of just half the day (“Full…Half”, 2004). The advantages that children receive from full day kindergarten extend into the first grade and sometimes beyond. These gains help children academically; enabling them to learn better, which makes them more well-rounded human beings (“Readings”, 2007). In full day programs, there are more opportunities for children to do in-depth studies and more time for hands-on learning. There is also more stability in full day kindergarten because teachers are given the time to balance large group, small group, or individual instruction. Having this balance has fostered higher learning abilities in children (NEA, 2006). Children in half day programs do not have the same opportunities as children in full day programs because of the time limitations. In half day programs, learning must be done in large groups because there is not enough time to have child-initiated learning. Children need to be given the opportunity to experience how all the different areas of learning are connected and how learning basic skills will help them to understand more complex skills later on in their education (NEA, 2006). Children change in many ways while in kindergarten. They learn to think about the world they are living in, and they also learn to think about themselves (West, Denton, & Reaney, 2000). In full day kindergarten programs children are taught processes of learning that will help them learn throughout life (DeCicca, 2007). “Full day programs are more likely than half day programs to spend to spend more time every day on letter recognition, letter-sound match, rhyming words, reading aloud, and alphabetizing” (“Full-day Kindergarten Pays Off”, 2003). President of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Paul Young, says, “If you don’t master certain skills at the kindergarten level, then you can’t be successful in first grade” (Thomas, 2002). In their first year of school children will gain the skills and the knowledge necessary for their success in the future...
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