Amid the numerous changes going on in public education, the latest addition is a welcome one for many parents: full day kindergarten.
The Avondale School Board approved the move to full day kindergarten at its February 6th meeting, beginning with the 2012-2013 school year. Rochester Community Schools, among others, will also switch to a full day format then.
What’s the reasoning behind it?
Full day kindergarten is a long time coming but the impetus to add extended hours now is two-fold. First, the State of Michigan has indicated that school districts that do not convert to a full-day kindergarten system for 2012-2013 will receive less school aid money.
Second, there is an increased volume and depth of information that even our youngest students must absorb, and they can’t do it in half a day. Kindergarten has evolved from a play-based curriculum to an academic one, while still retaining some opportunities for play-based learning.
Still, the expectations for kindergarteners has expanded and students are taught in a literary rich environment that includes phonics, fluency (recognizing common words by sight), writing, science, math, social studies, social/personal skills, motor skills and fine arts.
But how about those cranky 4, 5 and 6-year olds?
Don’t fret. Full day kindergarten does provide opportunities for rest. Here’s a sample day in the life of a kindergarten student and his/her teacher:
- Welcome the class with general information on the calendar, weather and word families;
- Hold a writer’s workshop with independent writing and group sharing;
- Move on to literacy centers with a focus on reading, word work and recognition and looking at and reading books;
- Move on to snack time and purposeful play;
- Then to writer’s workshop, sharing and lunch. Whew!
- Quiet choice and story time follow lunch;
- Then comes math, a special such as art, followed by science or social studies centers.
- The day ends with clean-up and routine closing of the day activities.
While some parents will miss spending the extra half day with their child, the majority of parents I have talked to are supportive of full day kindergarten and believe it makes sense as the U.S. continues to focus on the importance of education in sustaining a viable economy and a productive workforce.
Do you live in Avondale or want to participate in schools of choice for kindergarten in the Avondale district? Kindergarten Enrollment Nights for Avondale will take place in April and information will be provided at a later date. Direct questions about kindergarten enrollment to the Avondale Enrollment Office at 248-537-6039.