Please help me decide: half day or full day kindergarten

Please help me decide: half day or full day kindergarten

Joined: February 10th, 2009, 9:24 pm

March 12th, 2012, 2:22 am #1

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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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 12th, 2012, 2:50 am #2

as you point out, it's very academic and pretty crammed and stressful. I think I like the idea of sticking with your walkable school with its emphasis on socialization!

Since you love the teacher so much, is it possible to keep your options open?




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 51, dh 52
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
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Joined: January 27th, 2003, 11:09 pm

March 12th, 2012, 3:07 am #3

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!!

Pink
Our kindergarten is full-day. I was worried that it would be a big transition for my kids, particularly my first two, because I had kept them home with me readying them instead of sending them to 4-year-old preschool (they did have a year of 3-year-old preschool). They were totally ready for kindergarten, though. I needn't have worried. One thing that I liked about all-day kindergarten is that they had a LOT of field trips, which is fun. They also had time for music and art, which I would be very sorry to have eliminated from a kindergarten program, as it sounds like is the case with the half-day?

I'll bet there will be a HUGE interest in the two all-day classrooms, and they will need to do a lottery and have a waiting list. Would it be okay to put your name in but not commit yet?

I will say that the transition from kindergarten to first grade was very big. Much bigger than the transition to kindergarten. In our district, the kindergartners attend a separate school, then the kids feed into several different elementary schools. That might have been a factor in the hugeness of the transition to first, but I still really liked having the little kids in a different school from the big kids and riding a separate bus.

xoxo
MM
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Joined: February 10th, 2009, 9:24 pm

March 12th, 2012, 3:08 am #4

as you point out, it's very academic and pretty crammed and stressful. I think I like the idea of sticking with your walkable school with its emphasis on socialization!

Since you love the teacher so much, is it possible to keep your options open?




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 51, dh 52
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
No, KM, once you state your preference for all day, I think you are obligated. I think they are purposely not saying where the wonderful teacher will be going because everyone would probably flock in her direction.

My son has a really strict new pre-k/k teacher at the daycare currently. He has been in her class for 2 weeks. He is not adjusting well to her rules and ways. The woman never smiles, I swear. She did admit to me that she is in college for another degree, so I think she is probably burned out. I thought kindergarten teachers were all about hugs and smiles. Not this one! Thats what I saw in the teacher at the district K orientation. My son only has a few more months there, and when I have my qtr off in the summer I will disenroll him and just put him in park district activities.

I too am all about the walkable neighborhood school. Thats what I had as a child, and Id like to see my kids have the same experience.

Hope you are hanging in there with the news youve received. Just remember that your son will always be the same wonderful boy he has always been. He is certainly much more than his "diagnosis.

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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 12th, 2012, 11:32 am #5

I'm sorry about his teacher. She doesn't sound right for k at all!

Where I live, even if I were to enter ds for a lottery school, if I later changed my mind, the neighborhood school would have to accept him, no questions asked. It's not like that for you? Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse.




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 51, dh 52
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
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wcl
Joined: September 19th, 2006, 11:17 am

March 12th, 2012, 2:21 pm #6

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!!

Pink
...that you're more comfortable with the half-day, walk-to, no bus, no second transition program at the neighborhood elementary school? Is that what you really would like for him? What are other kids in his pre-k doing?

wcl
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Joined: February 22nd, 2006, 4:05 am

March 12th, 2012, 3:11 pm #7

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!!

Pink
pros of keeping him in half day K, can you not request that he not be part of the "lottery pool"? That's what I would do, or decline if his name got chosen? I'm sure that some other parent would appreciate it if it got their child a full time spot. If this works better for you then you should pursue it. It may be unsual but if it's right for your family then that's all that counts.

This is what is happening in our city but it is past the trial stage. Ds's school is on the list for full time K. As far as I see, nothing will change academically or as far as after care is concerned. We still have to pay for aftercare, the same fee regardless of how many hours you need a sitter for and it's the same charge pretty much, for the school's pre-K as it is for ds's daycare.

Our daycare services ds's home school and if we still have half day K when ds starts in Sept., we will still be taking him to daycare (less fee but still around 900 bucks.) If he is on the morning shift then we take him to school and the daycare picks him up and keeps him till we pick him up. If we do the afternoon shift then we take him to daycare and the daycare will take him to school. Ds #2 is still at the daycare. Or we can just accept a spot at the school's pre-K class and they will walk ds over to the K classroom.

Personally I think ds would love to ride the school bus so I probably would let him do that since I don't want him walking to school at that age. The school is only 5 mins. walk away.

Another consideration is, I know you would like to be be home with ds when you are but maybe he would like to be with his friends at school (yes it's another adjustment but he WILL make new friends), then you could have an occasional half day to relax and get some "me" time that you very much deserve. It's great to look at what is best for ds but you should also look at what is good for you too. You've been working so hard and taking care of your kids amidst difficulties, I think you should give yourself a break and if the opportunity comes up to get some me time while ds is well taken care of - then go for it.

Otoh, I can totally understand your delima. I'd send him to full day K, if this helps your decision making
Z.
Last edited by ZakiaZ on March 12th, 2012, 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: February 20th, 2006, 11:35 pm

March 12th, 2012, 4:49 pm #8

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!!

Pink
Pink, from what I can tell, the thing that seems to appeal to you most about the all day kindergarten is that it will offer extras like art and music. But I wonder if the after school care that you'll need to sign up for (regardless of whether he goes to half-day or full day kindergarten, sounds like) will have those things too - or other fun stuff. Or naps, if your DS still needs them. Personally, I'd take into serious consideration the ability to walk to school (I'd love that for my kids, for sure, just because of the convenience).

I guess what I'd do is see what the after care program offers, and compare costs of half-day K with after care, and whole day K with some after care, and then think about whether you're really getting that much extra in terms of special offerings. If you didn't have to pay extra for the whole-day K that might give it an edge for me. And I will say that my own 4 year old loves riding a bus (they go on field trips once a week in his pre-k class) but I will also say that they have child seats for them, while the buses for elementary school do not. Also, where will the bus come to pick up your DS? If it's in your neighborhood and you can walk to the stop, fine. But, for example, my older DS goes to a magnet program and I have to drive him to his homeschool to have him catch the bus. Every once in a while we miss it (because of DS's dawdling, but that's a different topic) and then I have to drive him to school; luckily it's not terribly far away, but definitely more of a pain because of traffic and then needing to drive back to the subway to park. And, while we're glad he's in the magnet program, it definitely adds to the morning stress to have to drive him to catch his bus, rather than having him pick it up right in front of our house. Same for the afternoons I'm home and need top pick him up from the bus stop. Being able to walk instead of driving through traffic would make things easier--though not a deal killer.

I totally hear you about wanting DS home with you on afternoons you don't work. I pay for full time preschool/day care for my 4 year old but keep him home the once or twice a week that I am not working because I enjoy having his company so much--he just makes me happy, just by being himself. I figure he'll be at school full time soon enough.

Good luck with the decision!

xoxox
Lillian
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Joined: August 30th, 2006, 9:39 pm

March 12th, 2012, 5:19 pm #9

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!!

Pink
Pink,
I think you are in the fortunate situation that because your DS is doing well, a year isn't going to make or break his experience.

You can only make a decision based on what information you have right now. If you have the sense that he won't do transitions too well, and you really want him in the neighborhood school, then forego the full-day option and go with the now.

Our district offers full-day as an option (but the state only pays for half-day so we pay $335/month for full day, waived in Title 1 schools). In our neighborhood school, all but 2-3 kids attend full-day but I don't know if that is true at other schools. Since our DD was going from FT daycare, I couldn't see any point in half-day K for her -- 2.5 hours? She'd be just warming up & it would be time to go home. And I work FT. So, that wasn't an option for us.

We ended up lotterying out of the neighborhood school, but DD goes to full day plus aftercare. She gave up the nap over the summer before starting K (as many kids do).
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Joined: September 4th, 2004, 1:08 am

March 13th, 2012, 1:03 am #10

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!!

Pink
that stinks that it is at a different site than the other 1/2 day kindergartners, don't like that. I like all the kids to see each other and know each other, sometimes they cross paths at the playground. That is my only doubt of doing the full day. Reading your post, sounds like you are favoring 1/2 day. All my kids did 1/2 day and all are doing well in school so just follow your gut.
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