Half day vs full day Kindergarten

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by megkc03, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. megkc03

    megkc03 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I still have a year to go as we miss the cutoff, but I was curious.

    Here in town, half day is provided. If you wanted full day K, it costs money. With twins, we'd be looking at somewhere around $4000 I believe for the year. I am a SAHM, so I'm home and full day isn't needed. Not to mention, we couldn't afford it.

    I just wonder if they get the same amount of learning in two and a half hours as they do in five/six. I taught preschool prior to having them. And they now go to half day preschool(it's through the town and Anthony gets speech services). I was taken aback by what they were doing in preschool, or lack there of, and was wondering if it was due to the time constraint.

    Just curious of those whose kids went half day vs full day. I'm sure the learning will be the same, but wonder if there is anything they would be "missing."
  2. becasquared

    becasquared Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I don't know since we haven't started K yet, but we will be going 1/2 day to Public K, and then 1/2 day to a Kindergarten Enrichment program. Apparently the 1/2 day K is really only 2 1/2 hours start to finish, and all they will really focus on is how to be in a classroom, letters and numbers. The after program is done through the same place they were at for Pre-K and is supposed to offer more thorough and individualized instruction on things like science, humanities, art. They do offer a private full day K which is a full day of learning, but I can't pay for it, paying $1800 a month for after care is enough. (And yes, I will still be paying $1800 for 1/2 day care, but it's $600 cheaper a month than what I'm paying now!)
  3. christinam

    christinam Well-Known Member

    My son went to a private school last year for Kinder. They had a half day plus program which allowed you to basically pick and choose short and long days. He went MWF half day and T/TR long day. On his long days he had lunch at school, recess, nap, snack, and maybe a craft. Seriously, it wasn't worth the extra cash to me. He didn't miss any actual lessons since half the class was half day. They called it enrichment but it was just an extra couple worksheets covering letters and writing. They were supposed to help them with areas they needed help but I didn't see that happen. The kids all worked on the same exact thing.
  4. Tamaralynn

    Tamaralynn Well-Known Member

    My oldest was in JK last yr which I guess is like Preschool but provided through the school system itself. He went all day everyday. His goes into SK this year which is full kindergarten and again is all day everyday. I can only speak from my experience. I don't think they necessarily learn more in one VS the other, I do believe they gain the experience of getting in a regular school routine and it did help with maturity with Donevan.
  5. christinam

    christinam Well-Known Member

    ITA. That's the only reason DS went two full days last year. We were still on the fence about homeschooling and I wanted him to get some experience with a full day just in case he went to 1st the following year.
  6. becasquared

    becasquared Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    It's funny you mention the "through the school system" part. In the US, there are public and private schools and the public schools are run by the individual state through the counties. So moving from Florida where there is half *and* full day Voluntary Pre-K (sounds like your JK) throughout most of the state for free, through the public schools, and not to mention full day K, to Virginia which doesn't offer PreK through the public school system was a bit of a shock. Let alone our particular county doesn't even offer full day K.
  7. Trishandthegirls

    Trishandthegirls Well-Known Member

    Kindergarten here is full day for four days a week and a long half day on Friday. Basically, 8-3 M to Th and 8 - 12:30 on Friday.

    The National Center for Educational Statistics did a study comparing full day and half day kindergarten about 12 years ago. They found that full day programs were prevelant in the South, and in cities and rural areas and areas with high levels of minorities or low income children. Suburban areas and large towns were more likely to have half day, as were wealthier areas. Overall, 56% of kindergarteners went full day. I think that percent has risen slightly in the last 10 years.

    The same topics are covered in full day and half day programs, but the full day classes spend more time on almost everything (teacher led lessons, small group work, full class work, child selected activities). Also, full day programs are more likely to be broken up into learning groups for things like reading and math - so that kids who are already reading work together, and kids who are just learning letters work together. The biggest difference I noted was the time spent on math. The short day kids learn how to write numbers, versus the full day kids (in general) who learn adding, subtracting and other higher math concepts. Plus, full day programs are more likely to include art class, library, gym, social studies and history.

    The study found that full day kindergarteners learned more math and reading skills than short day kindergarteners, but the difference wasn't all that big, just a few percentage points. So... all that said... it really doesn't seem to matter from an academic standpoint.
    2 people like this.
  8. Oneplus2more

    Oneplus2more Well-Known Member

    We only have half day here. My friend K is a teacher in a neighboring district, she opted to not pay the addiditional fee for FT Kindergarten for her kids. I think for kids that get nothing at home, it may be more beneficial. I'd be willing to bet your kids are getting more at home than most. :) She told me that the curriculum is the same - plus the day includes an additional recess and lunch period. PT is really rushed, DD1's teacher used a timer as they moved from station to station. Also, they do rely on the parents to do things like practice reading with books sent home. I do feel bad for the kids that don't have anyone at home that is doing these things with them. I volunteered in DD1's room and it was pretty obvious which kids were not reading their books at home.
  9. moski

    moski Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    We opted for half day kinder for the kids. Our town charges $3500 (or maybe $3700) a year for full day K. With two and me being home, I decided that was a bit much. I can't speak for what the kids in the full day K did, but I didn't find that my kids were behind the full day kids when they went into first grade. I think there is more down time in the day than the half day kids have.

    Liam is also doing the half day program. I am glad because although I know he'd do fine, I know I'll enjoy still having those afternoons with him. And he's got lots of friends in his class that we can do things with in the afternoons.
  10. TwinxesMom

    TwinxesMom Well-Known Member

    We have full day mandated k here. We did 1/2 pre k and I think half day k would put them at a disadvantage as they are doing so much this year in 1st and have homework all the time! I think going from half a day to this would have put a lot of strain on them
  11. AmynTony

    AmynTony Well-Known Member

    I find that statistic funny as there is only one 1/2 day K in my area of the state, which is mostly caucasian and middle income...

    our (and most school districts) are full day K - since I have nothing to compare it to, I say go with your gut (and wallet!)

  12. 40+mom

    40+mom Well-Known Member


    Our county has full-day kinder, so the half day was not an option (unless we did private kindergarten, which is very pricey and not an option for us).

    Personally, I think that kindergarten should be half-day instead of full day -- I think a full day (which included bus rides for my kiddos) was too much for them. I volunteered in the classroom from time to time, and while the morning usually went well, I could see that the kids (and the teachers) were tired in the afternoon. But, the afternoon was usually structured with "specials" (music, art, gym, etc.).

    And, just to prepare you, my kids were TIRED and HUNGRY and CRABBY when they got off the bus at the end of a long kindergarten day. It took about 6 weeks to get into the routine and even then, there were some days when they were just wiped out from trying to "behave" all day long. Their teachers confirmed for us that many kinder kids hold it together all day, but then fall apart at home. Just so you know!

    Much peace,

    3 people like this.
  13. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    Here it's full days I believe (well, 9 to 3). I've heard of districts close to us that do the same thing though, and charge you for full days. Not sure what we'll do if it's what happens here.
  14. Danibell

    Danibell Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    5K is full day around here. 4K through the school system is full day, but you have to qualify for it. It's mostly for the kids who they think may struggle a bit more starting 5K the following year. Sean basically knew too much to qualify, so when he was the right age we put him into a private 4K program that was half a day. Kaelyn did the same private 3yr and 4K program that Sean did at a local church.

    But 5K we have no choice, it's mandatory, and it's all day long. I don't mind it, but I felt that all day 4K was just too much, which is why we chose to send the kids to a private 4K. The twins will go there next fall as well.
  15. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Agree with Tricia. In the city of Philadelphia, kindergarten is full day with a half day option through the public school, so kindergarten is free (but full time pre-k is EXPENSIVE). My BF had asked at the school her children attend if they would recommend full day versus half day and the teacher replied that she thought the benefit to full day kindergarten was that it gives kids the time to practice being in school for the whole day because that is what happens in 1st grade. She said it was not necessary but that was an upside she did recommend to her parents.
    Back in the day, kindergarten was half day in the little town I grew up in and then the school district went to full day by the time my nephews were coming up in the school system. Not all school districts provide full day kindergarten in our area (one school district is starting full day this fall), so a lot of the working parents send their kids to day cares that provide full day kindergarten or to the Catholic schools for full day.
    My kids will most likely be going full day because I hope to be working by then.
  16. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Our district does the 1/2 day free and full day charge of about $2700 per kid. My kids did 1/2 day.

    The differences I saw were pretty minimal. The full day kids ate lunch there, 30 mins. The full day kids laid down for rest time, 45ish mins with some sleeping for 1.5 hours. The full day kids got an extra recess, 20 mins. The full days kids had longer specials. The 1/2 day got 25 min art, music, pe. The full kids got 50 min art, music, pe.

    By the time you add all that up, there wasn't much difference in the academic time.

  17. AimeeThomp

    AimeeThomp Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Wow I can't believe some places do half day K. Mine are in public school for Pre-K this year, and it's a full day. Well, they get out 15 minutes before the rest of the students so that they don't get lost in the shuffle with older kids for carpool and bus line. But yeah, mine are in full day pre-K this year and it's free. Definitely doing full day K here, half day isn't even an option at the private schools.
  18. summerfun

    summerfun Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    All schools in Maryland are all day K and it's been state mandated since 2007. That said our county started phasing it in about 8 years ago in our schools and our elementary school was all day K in 2005. So even my oldest DD went to all day K. I have nothing to compare it to since all 3 of mine have gone to all day K, but they have all done really well and adjusted fine (yes it is a long day) after the first week. What they do that the half day K didn't do at least in our county (I know since I used to teach in this county) is...they eat lunch at school they have Art, music and PE each 2 times a week, they go to library and computer lab and have a 3.5 hour block of Language arts time...that includes 4 reading groups per class and writing time. Our county's bench mark for reading is to be considered on grade level at the end of K is a level 6-8. They do 1 hour of math and alternate social studies and science and they have application centers time. I know half day K did abbreviated language arts, math, social studies/science times during the 2.5 hours they were in session. Our school day for K-5 is 9-3:30. Our all day K is basically first grade is in most schools...except in first grade you probably would not have the center time (at least not here).
  19. Sullyirishtwins

    Sullyirishtwins Well-Known Member

    Our school district is the only one around here do NOT meet half day or the 5 hours which means only 2-1/2 hours to meet. Many of my twins' friends outside of the school district is full day Kindergarten. This is a really good topic to discuss! There some things that I did not thought of it before so thanks for bringing those up too.
  20. lianyla

    lianyla Well-Known Member

    It will cost us $600 dollars a month tuition for the twins to attend public K full day here. I HATE the idea of the 2.5 hour thing. Right now they go 5.5 at YMCA 3xs a week so I hate to digress from that.

    I have NO IDEA how we'll afford it but I'm gonna try!!
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