It appears the Payson School Board is rushing to embrace the all-day kindergarten concept and build additional rooms to accommodate that idea.
They seem to accept the theory that parents of kindergarten students cannot sleep at night if their students are not in an all-day kindergarten classroom.
First of all let’s agree that one size does not fit all. Not all 5-year-olds are ready for the length and structure of an all-day classroom. Studies have shown that this is more evident in boys than with girls. Some students actually do better if they start school a year later. If a child is not ready for the all-day structure, the environment may weaken the child’s natural curiosity and readiness to learn. In that case the child may become disruptive in class and adversely affect the learning of others.
As a teacher and principal in K-8 schools, I’ve heard time and time again, “the child is not ready for kindergarten.” I’ve seen how a child’s natural curiosity slowly ebbs as he sits in a classroom day in and day out. Some of the best educational thinkers of the day propose we need to individualize education more to fit the present need of each student. This is not a reality in most school systems today, but keeping both half- and all-day kindergarten programs available will provide a needed choice for parents.
And for the parents who feel that if my child will lose out if he/she is not in an all-day classroom, let me remind you of the federal “Head Start” program that was going to be the answer in providing the necessary skills so every child could be successful. The federal government’s own studies showed that even after many years of the program, by the end of third grade they could tell no difference between a child who was in the program and one who was not.
Educators, especially primary educators, emphasize the best way for a parent to ready their child for the structured years of learning before them is to encourage the child’s curiosity and questioning and expose them to as many experiences as possible. And of course read, read to them. With that experience they should be ready for the kindergarten structure you choose for them. Good luck and I hope the Payson School Board will allow you and your child that choice.