In the states of Utah and Idaho, many schools are making the shift from half-day kindergarten to all-day kindergarten. Why is this? Does this have to do with the push to get kids academically advanced at a young age? Is it because studies are showing it’s better? Some families currently have the option to choose if they want their child in half-day or all-day kindergarten. Here are some of the pros and cons of both. Some are pulled from research, some are my own opinion, and some are the opinions of close friends who have recently put their children through either full or half-day kindergarten.
Half day kindergarten:
More time at home with family (if applicable).
Less time at a desk and more time playing at home or daycare.
A transition year to full-day school.
Typically smaller classes.
A better schedule for kids who are not emotionally ready to be away from home all day.
It Can be hard to manage childcare because of the pick-up/drop-off times in the middle of the day.
Academics can be pushed harder and faster because of the shorter amount of time in school.
Not enough time for social interaction for some kids.
Full day kindergarten:
A consistent schedule can be helpful for some students.
Childcare arrangements are easier for working parents.
More time in the day for academics, so recess and free time are more likely to happen.
Can be a long day for students to be at school all day.
Can be a hard transition to do full-day school at a young age.
Typically larger class sizes.
Can be hard for kids that are not emotionally ready to be away from home all day.
In my opinion, I’m team all-day kindergarten. Which surprised me, I didn’t think I would be! But the consistency of the schedule, the extra time for recess and free time in their day, and how well my daughter seemed to transition to all-day school made it an easy win for us. And in my opinion, they have to make the transition to all-day school at some point and the transition is hard, no matter the age. However, each situation isn’t and won’t be the same for each family and child.
It was also interesting to me to see insights from families that live in a culture where both parents work versus having a stay-at-home parent. When both parents are working full time, they comment that the year their kindergartener had half-day school was harder on the child and the family because the child was used to being in daycare full time and the half-day kindergarten threw off their schedule for a year.
Families with at least one stay-at-home parent commented that the transition to all-day kindergarten was harder for both the parent and the child. However, they also said that the transition to first grade was seamless and fairly easy after a year of full-day kindergarten.
Remember that if you are currently trying to choose between full-day and half-day kindergarten, you’re making a decision for your child and your whole family. It needs to be a mutual benefit for everyone involved. And whatever decision you make- it’s the right one. There’s no “one size fits all” in the academic world and whether you choose full-day or half-day kindergarten, you will find situations that you don’t love and you will find situations where your child is thriving.
What are your thoughts on all-day vs half-day kinder?
If you want to read deeper research on the topic, this research paper is an interesting read.