Half-Day Or Full-Day Kindergarten: Which Is Right For Your Child?
If you have a preschool-aged child, you have probably started to consider what kind of kindergarten experience you want them to have. There are many choices for kindergarten so you have the opportunity to find a kindergarten that is right for your child. The first major decision to make about kindergarten is whether you want your child to go to full-day or half-day kindergarten. Here are some things to consider when deciding what is right for your child.
Away-from-home Experience: In choosing a kindergarten program, you will want to consider how practiced your child is at spending time away from home. Children who have spent their pre-kindergarten years at home with a full-time parent, for example, may have a harder time adjusting to full-time kindergarten. Children who struggle with being away from their parents may benefit from a half-day kindergarten program to ease them in to school. Children who have spent time in preschool, however, may be used to being away from home and may benefit from a full-day program. If you wish for your child to attend full-day kindergarten, it is a good idea to enroll them in preschool to give them practice being away from home.
Maturity Level: Some children are more mature than others, even if they are the same age. You know your child best, so you are the best one to know whether your child is mature enough to handle a full day away from home. There are some “big kid” tasks that full-day kindergarten requires of children. For example, full-day kindergarteners have to be independent enough to eat lunch on their own. Also, if your child still needs an afternoon nap, you may want to consider a half-day program that will allow them to get enough sleep. If you are unsure of whether your child is mature enough to handle full-day kindergarten, you may want to ask his or her preschool teacher about their maturity level.
Learning: Children who are in full-day kindergarten have been shown to learn more in literacy and math than half-day kindergarteners. If your child is ready to be away from home, and is mature enough to handle independence for a full day at a time, full-day kindergarten is a wonderful way for them to get more educational opportunities.
Socialization: The more time children spend in school, the more opportunity they have to socialize with their peers. Regardless of the differences in academics between full-day and half-day kindergarten programs, this extra time for socialization can put full-day kids at an advantage. If your child Is not ready for full-day school, however, they may be too anxious or too exhausted to take advantage of those socialization opportunities when they come.
When you are making decisions about kindergarten and preschool programs for your child, remember that you know your child best. Trust in your ability to make the right choice for your child!