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Committee Recommends Full-Day Kindergarten

One of the arguments in favor of full-day kindergarten is the advent of Common Core standards that will initiate more-rigorous academic focus at every grade level.

A committee has recommended full-day kindergarten for Geneva, and a vote could be taken as soon as Feb. 10 to put it in place for the next school year.

The School District 304 Board of Education heard a presentation Monday from Director of Curriculum and Instruction Andrew Barrett, who headed the committee that is studying the options.

The four options generally were to keep the present half day, go to a full day every day, go to a full day with parents having the option of a half day, or going to a tuition-based full-day system.

The cost will be about $350,000 a year more than what's spent now, but full-day kindergarten will have benefits that far outweigh other options — including the present half-day kindergarten and supplemental programs offered today.

Initial costs would be for a teacher, teacher's assistant, additional bus routes and one-time start-up costs — for desks, moving and other materials — of about $13,000 per school.

One of the arguments in favor of full-day kindergarten is the advent of Common Core standards that will initiate more-rigorous academic focus at every grade level.

“Our kindergarten students don’t just have to change. Everybody has to change," Barrett said. "That’s why there’s an opportunity now."

About 75 percent of schools across the country have made the change to full-day kindergarten. St. Charles, Kaneland, Batavia, Oswego, Indian Prairie, Wheaton and West Aurora already have made the shift.

Full-day kindergarten is equitable, supports academic development, addresses parent inquiries, supports the neighborhood model for local schools and provides true prerequisite for our unit district, Barrett said.

"It's the best opportunity to support all our kids, the academic rigors, the social-emotional learning, and it has a commitment to equity in it," Barrett said.

 



No more taxes January 16, 2014 at 09:30 AM
Sylvia https://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/04/universal-preschool-is-a-sure-path-to-the-middle-class/ Arne Duncan wrote this, now he may have political motives but he did run the Chicago Schools and is the Secretary of Education. Kind of refutes everything you are saying but it is his opinion. I would suggest we just use a common sense argument and forget the studies. Is it better for kids to be socialized and learning or home watching cartoons or playing Xbox? "Actually my son does learn a lot on Octonauts:) From my own experience watching kids learn at the preschool level I know they are progressing and learning. I know my son is learning now and has the capacity to do more and that 2.5 hours is nothing. And he actually said that himself last week. I would also think that if we made full K optional but then when entering 1st grade have the kids test into grade 1 classes and put the higher scoring kids in one class and the lower scoring in another instead of random. The odds are the full day kids would end up mostly in a higher level. This advantage would then propel them every year onward and then would be measurable. My argument is that we don't do this. Kids are just put in 1st grade with any old teacher and then all mostly taught at the same level which over time mitigates the effects of an early start. Environment, parenting, natural ability will all play a greater role then preschool or the extra half day of K. Just saying it won't hurt the kids and will help.
Sylvia Keppel January 16, 2014 at 03:41 PM
NMT, that article certainly is political opinion. Studies are necessary when opinions differ. My common sense (backed by studies) tells me a child does best in his/her early years when cared for by a parent who loves the child. Young children learn most by observation. Which is better, to have a child "socialized and learning" from his equally immature peers in an environment where he quickly learns aggressive behavior to survive and keep his toys, or "socialized and learning" by watching mom or dad in daily tasks, behaving as he ought to one day, and benefiting from individualized love and care? If you let your young child sit around watching tv and playing Xbox all day, I feel sorry for your child. I'd hope most parents love their child enough to know this is not good. Playing, eating, sharing, going on errands ("field trips") are normal parts of a day with a child. It may not seem significant, but the child is constantly learning from each interaction. Would you rather have him learn from adults or other 4 yr olds? If you push for separate classrooms at the beginning of 1st grade, what happens when the benefits of full day kindergarten wear off by the end of the year? Do you retrack them into the lower group? Do you boost up other kids mid year who catch up? Remember, studies show academic benefits fade out quickly. Now, I would argue that some kids should be given added attention when necessary (like honors classes). When I was in kindergarten many years ago, I was taken aside with a couple of others to do more advanced reading work. I was indeed bored much of the time otherwise; but that's the price of public education in a one-size-fits-all model. It is very difficult if not impossible to meet all students' needs unless you track like you suggest, but in the early years you would have to change the model to allow for fluidity between levels to match the rapidly developing minds. I don't know of any school doing such a thing, because of the logistical nightmare, but if you could find one that works or figure out how to implement this, I would think it would be beneficial.
No more taxes January 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM
Sylvia, In a proper preschool children are learning how to socialize and are taught by professionals and are not learning from 4 year olds. I think you just insulted every preschool and kindergarten teacher. But I'm not one so that's ok:) The preschool we used taught children how to wait in line, how to ask questions, how to work together and play nice and share. Kids that misbehave learn consequences. Preschool does not cause bad behavior. There may be kids in preschool that are there because the parents don't have time to spend with them or are single parent households so the causation is that not preschool itself. correlation vs causation... If you think 1st grade is ok for full day but not earlier that is where we differ. Never said I let my child play xbox or watch tv all day. I was saying that many other parents do. He will never get video games. I'm waiting for that argument from him. We are not talking about you or me but the averages and the masses. While you may be a great mom and take the time to teach your child every day there are more parents that do not. More two parent working homes, single moms or parents that are not capable or willing to teach their children. I am also talking about learning in school, not doing everyday tasks which are the parents responsibility. Which schools spend too much time and money on too. I do know that my child will be reading soon. He is learning math. He learned about MLK today and actually remembered it and could converse with me about him. So I imagine how much more he would learn if it was not just 2.5 hours a day with how much of that time is actually spent learning? I do agree that public ed needs to be altered but that will not happen soon. Colleges too are outdated and need total revamping which may occur earlier if degrees don't result in jobs/careers. I have looked to private schools but am not sure it is affordable with what we pay in taxes already for schools. It is something we are considering. I guess we will never agree with each other on this subject or the studies but that is ok. No harm done. All in all we are each looking out for what is best for our children Full day K is coming too late for mine so this argument doesn't really matter for me. I actually do more in the 1/2 day not used with music, sports, mandarin, museum trips that will benefit him more later. Hope I'm right. I do agree with you on your Batavia tax issues. Behind you 100% on that. Geneva is just as bad. Enjoyed the conversation.
btown95 January 18, 2014 at 01:33 AM
You two can argue all you want, but full day Kindergarten will be a state mandate in a few short years.

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