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Full-Day Kindergarten Advantages and Disadvantages




A 2014 Study published by the American Medical Association shows a positive association between full-day preschool interventions and school readiness, attendance, and parent involvement.

Herman (1984) describes in detail the advantages of full-day kindergarten. He and others believe full-day programs provide a relaxed, unhurried school day with more time for a variety of experiences, greater opportunity for screening and assessment to detect and deal with potential learning problems, and more occasions for good quality interaction between adults and students.


While the long term effects of full-day kindergarten are yet to be determined, Thomas Stinard's (1982) review of 10 research studies comparing half-day and full-day kindergarten indicates that students taking part in full-day programs demonstrate strong academic advantages as much as a year after the kindergarten experience. Stinard found that full-day students performed at least as well as half-day students in every study (and better in many studies) with no significant adverse effects.

A recent longitudinal study of full-day kindergarten in the EvansvilleVanderburgh, Ohio, School District indicates that fourth graders maintained the academic advantage gained during full-day kindergarten (Humphrey 1983).

Despite often expressed fears that full-day kindergartners would experience fatigue and stress, school districts that have taken care to plan a developmentally appropriate, nonacademic curriculum with carefully paced activities have reported few problems (Evans and Marken 1983; Stinard 1982).


What are the Disadvantages of Full-Day Programs?

Critics of full-day kindergarten point out that such programs are expensive because they require additional teaching staff and aides to maintain an acceptable childadult ratio. These costs may or may not be offset by transportation savings and, in some cases, additional state aid.

Other requirements of full-day kindergarten, including more classroom space, may be difficult to satisfy in districts where kindergarten or primary grade enrollment is increasing and/or where school buildings have been sold.

In addition to citing added expense and space requirements as problems, those in disagreement claim that full-day programs may become too academic, concentrating on basic skills before children are ready for them. In addition, they are concerned that half of the day's programming in an all-day kindergarten setting may become merely child care.