In January I wrote my personal feelings about the value of all-day kindergarten. Today I learned a few things I didn’t know before. As a fan of irony I knew I would enjoy this when I read the opening:
All-day kindergarten sounds like a great opportunity. The teacher really gets to know your child, and how to help them learn. Your child gets enough hours in a learning environment to really absorb important skills. And, after all, kids are a lot smarter these days, so they are ready to get on with ‘real’ learning at a younger age.
Other good aspects of all-day kindergarten programs are not having to pay day-care costs for another year, and your little tired 5-year-old can just have his 1 p.m. melt-down at school, not at home. There are only 28 students in the class, so your kid will have plenty of attention. And don’t worry, the school will take care of teaching your child everything they need to know — you don’t have to worry about a thing.
The short takeaway list that should make you cautious of all-day kindergarten is this:
- All-day kindergarten damages the academic performance of kids from middle- and upper-class homes
- The Goldwater Institute found that there was no measurable impact on reading, math or language arts test scores by fifth grade of children who attended all-day kindergarten
- All-day programs cost more
I should not take much observation to conclude that “most 5- to 6-year olds are not ready for a six to seven-and-a-half hour school day.” I think that those who push for all-day kindergarten are well-intentioned but I am confident that we would not want the social blow back that it is bound to bring. I think Ms. Herron got her conclusion just right:
In Utah, even kindergarten is optional — and with good reason. We shouldn’t push very young children to be in school all day at the expense of the family and playtime that makes childhood special.