Tuesday, August 7, 2007

All Day Kindergarten

The Arizona Republic reported that nearly every school in Arizona is offering free all-day kindergarten. For the most part, the article seemed quite positive. However, I tend to be against all day kindergarten. I think that it is a bad thing for our state.

For most of the article, the AZ Republic went on and on about how 1/2 day kindergarten did not allow time for children to learn things like reading, etc. How 1/2 day kindergarten was mostly just play time, blah blah blah. But then halfway through the article, I found this little quote:

a recent Rand Corp. study said the nearly 8,000 students enrolled in all-day classes did not score higher in either math or reading when they were in fifth grade compared with students who had not gone to all-day kindergarten.

The education of a child is a long-term process. So if the long term results make no difference, then why do my tax dollars have to pay for it? While it is likely that all day kindergarteners will have better reading skills in first grade, it evens out in the end. So why do we have it? Why do we have to pay for it?

I'm guessing that the hidden agenda behind all of this is that parents don't want to pay for half day day care, when they can pay for before and after school care instead. I worked in a day care, and I know that there is a significant cost difference. Hey, if you can get someone else to pay for your kids day care, it's a great deal, right! It costs taxpayers about $8000 per student to send them to public school, as opposed to $7040 to send them to Kindercare full time for 40 weeks at $176 a week. Never mind that many Kindercares have accredited Kindergartens in them, and include breakfast, lunch, and snacks... let's pay more to send them to public school instead.

Parents still can send their kids to half-day kindergarten... for now. But I'm guessing that that option is likely to go away in the future. The AZ Republic points out all the benefits of all day kindergarten:

  • Students get more personal attention from their teacher. And less personal attention with mommy at home.
  • They can practice writing more. Which I guess is something they can't do at home with mom?
  • They will develop better social skills. Myth. Children do not need to spend all day out of the home with other children of the same age to develop social skills. How often do you go to work and only work with people of your same age? While it probably helps to get the kids out of the house regularly so they can meet people and make friends, it needn't happen in an all day school setting. 1/2 days work just as well. Besides, after working at Kindercare for 2 years and watching children move from the 2 year old room to the 4 year old room... the children that were shy at 2... are the same children that are shy at age 4. Same goes with the outgoing, popular kids.
  • Teachers can integrate instruction for all subjects And they can't do that in 1/2 a day? I spent 2 hours or less every day teaching my 4 year old, and I would often integrate her classes. It's just a matter of planning and using curriculum that works well together.
  • Children can make better use of school resources, such as libraries and art rooms. Nevermind that many schools had to cut art out of the curriculum because of the lack of money. I'm guessing that some of the libraries might not be so hot either.

I suppose with all-day kindergarten they will have more time to teach classes like sex ed, read stories like Heather Has Two Mommies, Daddy's Roommate, or King and King. And they will have more time to read the children stories about dinosaurs that begin something like "Billions of years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth." Evolution fairy tales begin at the preschool level, I'm afraid.

My daughter is 5. And no, she will not be going to all-day kindergarten. I will be sending her 1/2 days to (my last name) Christian Academy, where she will learn Bible, music, math, reading, history and science, all in less than 3 hours a day. Can she learn that much in only 1/2 days? Yes she can! Today my daughter read the writing on her baby brother's shirt, "zoo pals." Something she learned at the lastname Christian Academy last year. And we only have lessons 4 days a week, allowing us to have park day and field trips every Friday. I'm planning one field trip prior to the start of school... I hope to arrange for her and my nephew to visit the fire station prior to a lesson that I will be teaching on firemen.

1 comment:

Paul Donowitz said...
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