I am hoping you could address some questions regarding kindergarten choices. I live in a district that offers half- and full-day programs, and I chose half-day for my son who will be almost five and a half when school begins in September. I think he'd do fine in full day, but I chose half for a few reasons: because I stay at home and enjoy our time together, because he sleeps 11-12 hours at night and I feel like we'd never see him, and - honestly - because I am just in no rush to put him (and me) on a big kid "fast track" lifestyle rushing from one activity to the next.
Unfortunately, I just found out our district is moving to an "embedded" half-day program, which means all the kids are in one class together, but the half-day kids (of which there are fewer) will be sent home before lunch, while the rest of the class will stay. Am I overreacting to think this is a slightly cruel thing to do to the half-day kids? I am imagining that the full-day kids will have more time getting to know their friends and their teacher, putting the half-day kids at a big social disadvantage.
I was a big fan of the half-day program, when it was a group of kids who were set as true peers in the classroom. This change has me considering a switch to the full-day program, which isn't at all what I'd envisioned. (My son is in his second year of pre-school, but going from three mornings a week to five full days seems like a drastic change for him.) Since he's my oldest, I don't know what to expect from kindergarten, but I assume there is a lot more traditional teaching, as opposed to the free play learning he is used to at preschool.
Also, and we are expecting a new baby this summer. I feel like all these changes may be too much for my little guy. I know they seem like a lot to me!
I would appreciate any advice you may have. Thank you.
From: Tracy, Scituate, MA
I hear you loud and clear and I would probably originally have made the same decision. But, given the circumstance. I agree that you need to rethink. It's not because I suspect he will be at a disadvantage in terms of relationships or learning, but because he will be disappointed not to be staying. I could imagine him feeling deprived or left-out because he has to go home. Most kindergarteners are very social, even those who are happy to have down time. Plus, if his friends all stay, who will be available for an afternoon playdate? And here's something else: with a new baby in the mix, you may be grateful to have him occupied for more, rather than less, of the day.
I would talk to the school principal and, hopefully, a K teacher or two. I realize this is a new development and they haven't experienced it yet and likely won't know if many families will opt out of full-day. I'd seek their advice nonetheless. Can you wait until Sept to decide? If you go for the half-day and want to switch to full day, will you be able to? I'd also talk to the pre-school teachers. What do they think about full-day for him? You've got a bunch of months, as well as a summer program if there is one, to extend him from three mornings to four mornings to five, to even a full day or two, so he can get used to it. Lastly, talk to some other moms whose kids are going into K. What are they doing?
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