AM/PM vs. Full Day Kindergarten

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by Jacqui, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. Jacqui

    Jacqui Rookie

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    Nov 18, 2008

    I am still a student in ECE, but of course I always think about what year I'd like to teach one day. I'm stuck between kindergarten and first grade, and the biggest reason is one that I'm learning not all schools face. I grew up in PA, where they (used to?) have AM and PM kindergarten, instead of having the same class there all day. Now I live in Georgia (for college), where I'm learning that their kindergarteners go to school all day. I love this idea, and actually decided against kindergarten because I didn't want to spend most of my day preparing my kids to start the day/pack up and go home/etc.


    When I was a senior in high school I worked with a kindergarten teacher in our SD and absolutely loved the kids/learning level, but they still split the day. I just remember how she had to end her lessons early on snowy days to put them back into snow suits, etc.

    So my question is: how many of you work in a school district that has AM/PM kindergarten, and how many have classes that stay the whole day? If you still have AM/PM kindergarten, how hard is it to get your students packed/unpacked every day? Does it take a lot of time? How many schools actually still do this?
     
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  3. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    Nov 18, 2008

    FL has had full day Kdg for a long time. I honestly cannot even imagine a half day Kdg with all the expectations there are for these little guys. The day is long for the kids, but if you plan appropriately the day is rather exciting.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2008

    Around here, it depends on the district. Mine daughter attends full day, the one a mile away is half day.

    But beware: the changes in the economy may mean that a lot of schools cut back to half day. It most certainly would save a lot of money, since you could teach the same number of kids with only half the kindergarten teachers.

    As state budgets pass and school moneys decrease, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see lots of cutbacks here.
     
  5. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Nov 18, 2008

    It's mostly full-day in Wisconsin. There are some districts that still do half-day, but it's not very common.
     
  6. teacher36

    teacher36 Comrade

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    Nov 19, 2008

    My district is half day. If you think about it though, the half day Kindergarteners are not missing any academic time. Sadly, it is the free play that they miss. The full day districts near me incorporate naps, snack, lunch, recess and a special (art, gym, etc.) into their 6 hour days. The half day obviously does not have lunch, recess, or naps and have specials only 3 days a week. The time all balances out.
    As for getting them ready, it really does not take that long. My son is half day K, I student taught in the half day K, and now I teach half day pre-k. You would be surprised how independent my 4's are already. It takes only 10 minutes to pack up (and we are in NY where it was 35 degrees today, so I'm talking coats, hats, and gloves). They pack up their own backpacks, put on their own coats, hats and gloves (with a little help from me with zippering and gloves) but it still only takes between 8-10 minutes. So, don't let this be a factor in your decision.
     
  7. Mommateach

    Mommateach Rookie

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    Nov 20, 2008

    I know of a district in WI that gives the parents a choice of whether to send their child for a half day or a full day. The parents can only change their mind once to switch to full day during the year. The half day kids go home right before lunch time starts. There are only a few students in the entire district that go 1/2 days. I have a feeling the district will get rid of the half day option soon.

    The kids in the 1/2 day are taught Reading, Writing, Math, Music, PE, Art, centers, crafts and sometimes computer phonics and math games. The half day kids do miss out on lunch, Social Studies, Science, Guidance, library time, guest speakers and free play.

    I also heard of a district by Appleton that had only 1/2 day of kindergarten.

    In another district that I live by they have full day K and have 2.5 hours of public pre-k available.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 20, 2008

    Our kindergarten program here in Ontario is a half-time program. Most schools operate on a full-day-alternate-day schedule while a few still have half-days. There is talk of implementing kindergarten as a full time program in the next few years, as it will open up some teaching positions, but nothing is firm yet.
     
  9. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Nov 21, 2008

    Our kindergarten in TX is full-day and it has been for the last 10 years, we even have full-day public pre-k in my district. It really depends on where you are located, the closer to a major city you are the more likely that the kinder programs are full-day. We have been shifting towards full-day K in the US for the last 10 years and eventually the entire country will be full-day so it shouldn't factor into your decision. I would first decide what area of the country you want to teach in and then find out if the local school district offers full-day or half-day K, then make your decision.
     
  10. harbodin

    harbodin Companion

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    Nov 22, 2008

    I don't know of many in my area of southern VA that do 1/2-we are almost full day and our FREE public preschool is full day too. I am also from PA (Go Steelers) and my niece goes to 1/2 day. I can't imagine only seeing the kids half the day. It would be so hard to get all the academics in, with little time for the playing and fun things they NEED at this age! We are full day and have naps, play time EVERY day, and have LOTS of standards to cover (For example, they have to know that why Pocahantas was important, who Chief Powhatan was, where VA is and the Atlantic Ocean on a map-that's just one piece of SS for this nine weeks, not even counting reading, math and science!!)

    By the way, once you teach them to pack and unpack, the hardest thing is zipping coats and tying shoes-they can mostly do everything else themselves.
     
  11. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Nov 25, 2008

    I teach half day PK, and I love it. We dismiss in the AM at 11:55, and we spend the last 20 minutes outside...so we have to be all cleaned up, packed up and dressed by 11:35. My kids have it down to such a science that I don't even give the clean up signal until 11:20 or 11:22 nowadays. Of course, we don't do snowsuits. If it's cold enough (or wet/snowy enough) to require snowsuits, we stay inside that day!

    MD has full day K only, and has some half day PreK and some full day. Even within districts, PreK varies. I am a half day teacher, but all of the schools within 5 miles of mine are full day.

    That said, our former supt. removed nap time from all K and PreK classes...whether they be full day or part day. "School is for learning, not for sleeping." Same dude took away outside playtime for half day programs..."if you get to go out once or twice a month, that should be fine." I seriously wondered if the guy had ever even met a four year old, but I konw I am well off topic here!
    Kim
     
  12. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Dec 7, 2008

    We have only a few full day K programs in our district (a large district in LA county) At my school there are 2 morning only classes and one full day K class (mine). I taught 1/2 day kinder last year and we were always so rushed to get everything in.
    I love half day because I always finish all I need to accomplish, plus the kids have Social Studies, Science, Art, and literacy as well as play centers. Oh, and we have PE every day, too as well as two short recesses. :)
     
  13. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    Dec 7, 2008

    The district I work in has some full day and some half day classes. My school is half day but there is a tuition based Enrichment program, which I teach, that is offered the other half of the day for the kids. We don't have space to have full day kindergarten because we would need three more classrooms. I think my school will remain half day for a while. I have also heard that the economy won't allow for full day programs in my district next year.
     
  14. Jacqui

    Jacqui Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2008

    Wow, thanks for all the great responses. I decided I'm going to take your advise and keep kindergarten in mind. Timing shouldn't be a problem, and it looks like most schools are full-day now (or will be soon) anyway. Thanks for all the advice and input!
     
  15. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

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    Dec 7, 2008

    Full day in my district in Fl. No naps, no snack, and only 20 minutes outside. Way to many standards to be responsible for. Many say in my district that today's K is becoming more and more what years ago 1st grade was.
     

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