It’s official. I’m going to cry my eyes out on August 27.
My youngest child will be climbing the steep stairs to the big yellow bus and heading off to kindergarten.
For months, I was tormented by this decision. Should we send him now that he's five or would another year of preschool be better? Should we ask for full-day or half-day? Morning or afternoon? Decisions, decisions.
What are your thoughts about the benefits of full-day vs. half-day kindergarten classes? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Back in the day, a child turned five (or close enough to it) and off they went to school. No tests to take, no evaluations - five equaled kindergarten.
Now, parents often decide to hold their child back an extra year, sending them to school when they’re six, to assure they’re "ready for kindergarten." It gives them one more year of preschool and assures they're ready socially and emotionally.
As I’ve mentioned before, there was some debate about whether or not my son was ready this year. Together, my husband and I decided he was.
But then the next question arose – half-day or full-day kindergarten? And that’s where things get interesting.
Our little guy has always had a certain level of sensory and focus issues, but nothing that was ever severe enough to be diagnosed as a serious problem. The doctor often noted that he was just a "sensitive" child.
Bright lights, strong winds, and loud noises were often the cause of his crying or jumping into my arms. But we were assured that it’s just part of his personality.
He’s grown out of many of his extreme responses, but still struggles at times – enough to make me wonder if we should have pursued an evaluation.
I was told by his preschool teacher that a full-day kindergarten program could help him acclimate enough to be fully prepared for first grade. Other teacher friends expressed concern, stating the full-day program was for the children who "really" needed the help or who had never been to preschool.
I guess my child falls into the gray area. He needs help, but does he "really" need help? Wouldn't a full-day program benefit all children?
Kindergarten is the gateway to a child’s educational career. But in this age of preschool, day care, private tutors, LeapPads and PBS, does a half-day kindergarten program provide enough challenge for a child who already knows his ABCs and 123s?
We’re going from a 5-hour-per-day pre-school program to a 3-hour-per-day kindergarten schedule. That's a lot less school for a kid who loves to learn.
Knowing my son, he’d do much better in a full-day program simply for the sake of his eagerness to explore new concepts and his social desire to be around his peers. It would also help him to learn basic school structure.
Believe me, I’m not complaining. I eagerly accept the fact that he has a half-day class.
I selfishly look forward to one more year of one-on-one lunch dates and mid-day jaunts to the park with my little pal. This will be the last year before he's forever bound to a full-time school schedule.
I just wonder if he’d benefit more, if he’d be more prepared for the next level, if he had the opportunity to hit kindergarten full force like other students his age have the opportunity to do.
Does it matter? Could it make a difference?