In the end, it comes down to being educated about the pros and cons of each for parents to make an informed decision about which form of kindergarten their child will be attending.
Pros of Half-Day KindergartenMany educators feel half-day kindergarten is more beneficial than full-day because it does not cause the children stress from being away from home for such a prolonged period of time, which full-day kindergarten is believed to cause. Supporters of half-day kindergarten say children are able to receive the same quality of education and social experience as the children who participate in full-day kindergarten. Many educators encourage half-day kindergarten programs because young children are incapable of maintaining interest and the attention span needed to participate in full-day kindergarten programs.
Cons of Half-Day KindergartenWhile educators have a strong argument for supporting half day kindergarten, those against it have just as strong of argument. Those against half-day kindergarten claim children are not able to achieve the same educational experience as a full-day because the school days are rushed and a full curriculum has to be squeezed into only a couple of hours of school. Plus, they claim the amount of time students are able to receive the one-on-one attention they need from their teachers is limited because there simply isn't enough time in the day.
Those against half day kindergarten also claim children who are in half-day kindergarten have a harder time adjusting to a full length school day once they reach first grade. Those against half-day support their claims with the difficulty it adds to the parents. With children in half-day kindergarten programs parents have a much harder time juggling work and picking their kindergartner up from school. It causes extra trips through out the day and a loss of income.
The debate over half-day and full-day kindergarten will continue. Some school districts have set their preference for which form of kindergarten they use, while others leave the choice up to the parents. The only way to decided which is best for your child is to become educated about the pros and cons of both and to decided which will work best for your family and child.
After experiencing both full and half-day, I now fully support full-day kindergarten. As first, I agreed full-day was just too long and too hard on the kids as my oldest son was in half-day. But, once my daughter entered full-day kindergarten, I saw the benefits to a longer day. A longer day led to a better achademic experience with accelterated learning and more opportunitites that just weren't there with half-day.
While there may not be a simple answer to which is better, you must decide for yourself which will work best for you and your child. Where do you stand? Do you support half-day or full day kindergarten?
"Full Day Kindergarten" Public School Review
"Half Day Kindergarten" Public Instruction