Full Day kindergarten vs half day?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2000
Full Day kindergarten vs half day?
Sun, 01-18-2004 - 10:39pm

My dd starts kindergarten next year.


Avatar for outside_the_box_mom
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 01-19-2004 - 6:48am
DS did well in full day kindergarten. At his school, they had a fairly structured day but were given lots of "free" time to pursue learning games of their choice. He learned to read last year, learned basic math principles, and also learned how to write. They had an "authors tea" in the Spring where each child presented a book he/she wrote and illustrated.

They also had quiet time after lunch/recess where they had to be quiet or read (or nap if they wanted).

I think it was a good transition to first grade, because now he's following a much more structured and rigorous curriculm. He is worn out most days.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 01-19-2004 - 10:44am
Our school district doesn't offer the choice yet.

I actually love the idea of full day Kindergarten. In fact, I've been wondering lately how much learning time my dd really has in her half-day. The bus picks up at noon, class starts at 12:20. Each day there is a halfhour/45 minute long class like gym, art, music, library, health. They also have a daily snack time. Pre-K may differ from regular K, in that my dd gets a lot of play time. I assume in this cold weather, it must take at least 10-15 minutes to get all the kids in one class ready to get on the bus at 3:00, not to mention extra time taken so they can prepare themselves and undo themselves to go out for recess. (My dd can get her snowsuit and everything on by herself, but it does take her at least 8-9 minutes at home. I am assuming she is on the slower side, but still, to get an entire class ready would take time.) I assume the kids have some sort of regular potty break as well. I can't imagine there is THAT much time leftover on any given day for actual class time.

The biggest problem with half-day vs. full day that I know of, is availability. Headstart in my town is very hard to get a FT slot. Many many people who WOH FT have to really juggle child care with half-days. I have a single mother friend who is in this position, she didn't get a full day spot and she has had one heck of a time through this school year getting her ds to class. In that respect, if availability was limited, I probably wouldn't even consider going on a full-day waiting list because I am AH, and can deal with half-days a lot easier than some parents can.

As far as kids not being ready for full day school? I don't see where a couple more hours would really make that much of a difference. I've only ever heard one mother who said her 5 year old couldn't handle going to school at all... she screamed and kicked her entire K year. I suppose there might be some extreme cases out there, but I think overall, it's not a bad thing.

Avatar for flyr0sebudz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 01-19-2004 - 11:22am
Hi there - I have no advice I just wanted to let you know we're going through the same thing as you, and we're going to take our chances with full day next year. Our district (public) is still half day but it's because they literally don't have the space, they would need twice the K classrooms in all 3 schools. DD is going to stay at the Catholic school where she has been attending preschool for 2 years. She loves it, and so do we and plan to send both kids all the way through HS in the Catholic schools. Our original plan was to utilize the public schools, that's why we moved into this neighborhood, but now we plan to move into a cheaper district to get more house for our money. ANyway, I think DD is ready for full-day - kids of working moms are used to being away from home and in structured environments for longer periods than SAHMs are, like you said. Thats my opinion anyway. Since we mostly socialize with other WOHMs I realy don't know how it is on the other side of the fence. I can tell you that our Catholic K program does have a lot more playtime built in as well as lunch and a resting/quiet time at the end of the day (dismissal is 2:15) You know your child the best so it's your decision. Good Luck!! Hugs, Nora
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Mon, 01-19-2004 - 11:47am
Full-day Kindergarten has *got* to be less tiring than half-day plus aftercare.

My town does half-day K, and then buses the kids over to one of the elementary schools for aftercare. I would much prefer for my kids to go to full-day K, because the whole busing and acclimating to a new environment, with new kids and teachers, sounds exhausting to me. My older son won't be in K for another year and a half, so we have time to try to find a work-around. I am thinking that it would be nice to have a nanny here to collect him from school, so that's what we'll try to do.

Congratulations! I'm so happy to hear it. I just heard the good news and popped back over, just in case you were still checking in.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-02-2003
Mon, 01-19-2004 - 12:00pm
There are worse things than being tired at the end of the day! Children who are tired after a day of stimulating activity probably sleep better!

My son is in K. I am a SAHM (oops WAHM)and that has no bearing on my opinion. In our school, the kids go full days, but half weeks. He goes Tues/Thurs and every other Friday. I hate the inconsistency. In the first week I thought full days were too long - he was really tired, but I quickly changed my mind. They are kept busy and active and I love that he comes home tired! I would opt for full days 5 days/week, if I had the choice. I think the benefits are obvious. There was an independent study done here last year and one of the biggest recommendations was full day K.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2001
Mon, 01-19-2004 - 1:19pm
Maureen aren't you in MA?


Linda - wife, mother, grandmum                     &nb

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 01-19-2004 - 1:37pm
I agree. This was one of the reasons we chose full-day K.

>>Full-day Kindergarten has *got* to be less tiring than half-day plus aftercare. >>

When my DD was ready to enter K, our neighborhood school offered only half-day, and there was a daycare across the street that offered aftercare. A school in the same district, half a mile away, offered full-day K. We chose to send DD to the farther school and to full-day K. With my PT schedule, I could pick her up at the end of the school day most days, and she attended the on-site aftercare about 0-3 hours a week.

My son is in K this year. We live in a different neighborhood now, and no public school in our area offers full-day K or on-site aftercare. For these reasons (and other reasons), we have him in private K at the school where he went to preschool. His K hours now match DD's school hours (third grade). I work during school hours and neither child attends aftercare, so I like this schedule very much. Also, DS hates transitions. I thought it'd be really hard on him to adjust to a new school for K plus a new aftercare all at the same time.

Both thrived in full-day K. DD was always academically inclined. She was an early reader, and she still loves school. DS is not so interested in academics. His private K is Montessori, which works well for him because although they do teach reading, math, science, etc., the kids don't do a lot of "desk work" and he gets a lot of opportunities to pick what he want to work on, or take a break from academic work and do arts or "life skills" (they learn to fold laundry, use tools, squeeze orange juice, etc.) and run around outside with his friends. I am a little worried about his transition next year to regular public school.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 01-19-2004 - 2:28pm


Half of the Ks in our town are half day, half are full day.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2003
Mon, 01-19-2004 - 3:35pm
I don't have much to add, but my dd is in a full day program right now. I am a woh/wahm so she would have gone to childcare if the full day option weren't offered. She doesn't seem overly tired at the end of the day and she loves going to school. Her class is learning so much more than the 1/2 day classes, which is a real plus to me. In our district, the 1/2 day kindie classes are very preschool like - they learn colors, shapes, the letter people, etc. Mostly simple things my dd already knew (except many of the letters) at the beginning of the school year. In her class, they have learned all the sounds of single letters and have moved on to learning some two-letter sounds, while the full day program has not finished the alphabet. In the long run, though, I don't know how much difference it makes because. . .

My older dd was in the 1/2 day program b/c the full day wasn't offered then. She has done well in school all along and I see *no* ill effects of basically haviing playtime only in her kindie class. In fact, she does very well (mommy brag - she is in 3rd grade this year, and this summer she read Harry Potter 5 completely independently :) ). Incidentally, I would not have requested full day for her, even if it were offered, b/c she has a late November birthday and I think it would have been too much for her. Also, at the time, I was a sahm and she was not accustomed to being away all day like my younger dd is. For her, since she had been home, I liked the transistion to school that the 1/2 day program provided.

So, if your child is ready and can handle it, I say go for it - we really liked it. If you don't feel he can handle it, I don't really know that it makes much of a difference.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 01-19-2004 - 5:02pm

Zak started kindergarten at full days and I loved it. The kindergarten children end a hour before the rest of the school and they get two recesses. It was fun for Zak and he was not overly tired. He only did afterschool care for two days and the rest of the days I picked him up after school.

He started school after turning 5. He is a November birthday and he also loves school. He loves the routine and the learning. He flourished with full days. Of course, he is a general in training. He likes knowing what he is going to be doing and how he is going to do it.

"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)