Thursday, September 1, 2011

What Do You Think Thursdays with Skinny Scoop: Full-Day Kindergarten

In five short days, my first born, my sensitive, sweet, extremely bright little girl will starting *gulp* Kindergarten*.

My emotions are a giant mixed-up grab bag:

Yes! She is going to have so much fun!
No! She’s going out into the scary world without me!
Yes! More me time and time with Thomas!
No! I am going to miss her!
Yes! She needs more social interaction!
No! I don’t want her to get hurt!
Yes! She needs more than I can give her!
No! I am going to miss her!
Whew! That ping pong match is exhausting, right? And to add another component to this conundrum, I had to decide whether or not to have Marie go to school all day. Our district offers a program called K-Plus, which is an extension of Kindergarten. The kids go to half-day Kindergarten and then go to K-Plus (or vice versa depending if they have morning or afternoon Kindergarten). You can also choose anywhere between 3-5 days a week to attend this program. In K-Plus, the kids have lunch, go to specials, and review more thoroughly the lessons learned in the regular Kindergarten class.

My first thought: “Absolutely not!” Kindergarten is supposed to be only a half day. Period. Marie is supposed to come home with me, and we’ll spend the rest of our day together before she goes to first grade.

My second thought: “Hmmm. Marie has trouble with transitions. That whole having lunch at school a few days a week might be good way to help her transition into first grade.”

I know my Babe. Transitions are hard for her. If I can have her go to school all day for a few days a week to get her ready, that might make next year easier for her. Going to lunch and adapting to different teacher’s routines will be good for her.

Also, this girl *craves* learning. She is already reading long books (think Golden Books or unedited versions of Disney Classics). I don’t know where to go from here. I could probably figure it out, but I have another one that needs my attention, too. On many different levels, it hurts to say this (and will probably have its own blog post soon), but she needs more socialization and direction with her education than I can give her. And Thomas is craving more attention now than ever.

So I am putting my selfish need of wanting her around and doing what’s best for her.

This is just another instance in which I have learned the importance of flexibility. I have these ideas of how I want life and parenting to go, yet I constantly need to reassess the situation and move forward in the appropriate direction.

With a box of Kleenex in hand.

What do you think about full-day Kindergarten?

*I checked everywhere, and I could not get a clear answer if “Kindergarten” should be capitalized or not. I apologize if I should not have capitalized it.


Sparkling said...

As a certified teacher who did her student teaching in full day kindergarten and then did a week of subbing in 1/2 day, I say FULL DAY ALL THE WAY!!! Those kids got so much more out of the full day experience. And it was all learning, but not just paper and pencil. It was activities and centers and just wonderful stuff. If you have the choice, don't even think about half day. We need to give our kids every single opportunity we can, and if full day is available to you, grab it!! I just learned that some places don't even offer kindergarten! Their kids just go right into first grade! That boggles my mind!

Kim Murray said...

My kids both did part-time Kindergarten even though our district was full-time. I understand both sides of the debate and every family has to make choices best suited for them, but I have to say from experience that I wouldn't give up that part-time Kindergarten year for anything.

They grow up so fast and I really wanted to give them one more year of childhood before they go to school the equivalent of an adult work work. The time and we spent together as a family was just as important as learning to read and write. Which they both learned just fine prior to and during their part-time Kindergarten year.

Now that my youngest is off to school full-time in 1st grade I don't regret my decision for one minute. The opportunity for having them at home goes by WAY TOO fast. There are lots of dilemmas and "what ifs" when you are in the moment. I, too, struggled with my decision. But in the end I realized that one more year at home wasn't going to derail my kid's education. It only enriched our time together.

I know you'll make the decision best suited for your daughter. This is just my two cents coming from a mom whose "baby" is going off to school full-time (sob) now! I wouldn't trade their time home with me for anything!

Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress said...

oh, you too?? I have to google that word every time I use it. Half the time, I capitalize it and half the time I don't.

I put my daughter into a half day program because the schools closest to us did not offer anything else. She wanted to stay longer, but I'm secretly glad it was just half day. It made the transition easier for me! So selfish, I know.

Sandra said...

In the province I lived in (Canadian) the French schools began kindergarten at 3 years old and it was all day, every day, and I have to say, my older three who took part of this curriculum have a much easier time with school than my youngest who did not have this opportunity (we had moved by then.) So I'm with Sparkling: All day all the way!