…and did you know you had a choice?
I was visiting Julie Cole over at The Mabelhood, after her tweet caught my eye…Full day or half day kindergarten? I’m trying to decide whether to send my kid next year. – Julie Cole, twitter That would be her sixth kid. As I started writing my know-it-all ‘been there, taught-both, sent my own kids’ reply, it occurred to me that if a mom sending her sixth kid to school is struggling with this decision, perhaps my observations may be of use to others. So Julie, thank you for the writing prompt.
Here is what I wrote in response to the question she posed on her post Kindergarten – To Go or Not To Go? :
I’ve taught both full-day alternate-day kindergarten and half-day kindergarten, and teach at a school that piloted Ontario’s full-time kindergarten program. Our kids (now 12 and 15) both attended half-day programs. The biggest ‘best-fit’ factor really does lie with the individual child, and as a parent, you know your child best. Here are a few things to take into consideration:
1) Your child’s temperament, age, health and level of independence. If you have a high-energy child who hasn’t seen an afternoon nap since before his second birthday, has an immune system of steel and needs constant entertainment, your answer is easy. It’s also easy if you have a napper, is a ‘young’ perhaps not-even-four year old (not necessarily a December baby, but ‘young’ in terms of emotional attachment or self-help skills etc.) that helps with the decision too.
2) What is your heart telling you? They’re only little once.
3) Finances. That’s the reality of our times. Can you afford not to?
4) The benefit of routine. This is why our kids went to a school out of area (by one street) to half day kindergarten. Having taught both programs, I saw the benefit of going to school each day, versus the long day two or three times a week, then not going to school for four days in a row on some weeks.
5) The length of the day. Even if your child is registered in full day kindergarten, there is no law saying he has to attend for the entire day. It may make the most sense for a young child entering Junior Kindergarten to start the year attending half days and build up to full days as the year (or years) progress(es). This has been a comfortable way for many children to ease into full-time schooling. Baby steps.
Best wishes with your decision. As long as your child’s best interests are at heart, all should be well!