Our province is moving from half-day (or every other day) kindergarten (age 5) to full-day every day kindergarten.

It seems to me that all-day every day kindergarten would be an abrupt change from staying at home with a parent 100% of the time. At 5 years old, are kids ready for this? How can a parent prepare a child for this? Does it make a difference if they're already in a junior kindergarten or daycare?

asked 18 Jan '10, 03:23

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Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

+1 good question & great link.

(18 Jan '10, 09:24) Emi

After reading the article and the comments, I can try and offer my views as a mother who "paid for nursery" for my daughter from the age 22-24 months till 4 years, and is now paying for "Pre-School" using the PYP syllabus from 4 years onwards.

I can certainly say that in my opinion,children from an early age (as early as 2) do benefit highly from these social/playing/learning environments, which also prepares and stimulate them, and paves the way for making learning fun.

I think teaching materials are much more developed these days in both private and public schools in many countries, and there are great amounts of quality teaching materials available to pre-school / kindergarten teachers. I would be interested in hearing what kind of a syllabus they are intending to implement. (Teachers in the Mom4mom community can offer more concrete views I'sure)

For children who have not been exposed to such environments I would say the transition will be more challenging but not impossible. So to try and answer you questions,

  • At 5 years old, are kids ready for this?

They should be unless they are exceptionally shy, timid and introvert. In such cases I would consult the educational instituted and make them aware of the case and see what they suggest. Full day attendance could begin once the child feels comfortable with the new environment. The one benefit is that at 5 years old you can really communicate with your child, which could also prevent anxiousness of their part.

  • How can a parent prepare a child for this?

A parent could prepare his/her child by joining local playgroups/playcentres for a couple of hours, a couple of days a week.

  • Does it make a difference if they're already in a junior kindergarten or daycare?

The only difference would be, in my opinion, is that the child would have already been exposed to such environments and would probably adapt much quicker than a child who had always been at home or with a single carer.


answered 19 Jan '10, 10:48

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 19 Jan '10, 10:55

It is an abrupt change (for the parents as well). Here, children start out with four mornings and one afternoon a week. After Christmas that changes to four mornings and three afternoons. Next year there'll be an extra morning. Oh, and the first year is (currently) optional anyway.

Our daughter's teacher is very easy going (not sure if she's supposed to be), "She's still young, if she falls asleep at lunchtime, let her sleep, she's better off sleeping in her bed than at her desk".

Schools are a bit like hospitals, sometimes you feel that you have no choice, just because there are 'experts' in white coats. It might be worth researching further to find out exactly what parts are legal requirements, what parts are based on decent research, and what parts are just the result of some back-room government pressure on teachers to increase their working hours*, or negotiations between government and big business to get (lower-paid) mothers back to work quicker.

(Sorry, my answer is not politically correct, but I'll worry about politically correctness once I know the kids are OK.)

In answer to comments

My answer has already stepped outside the bounds of the original question, so I'll try and keep it short. Let's try a little thought experiment: imagine that it were scientifically proven that children learn better if they only spend 2 hours at school a day. Would it happen? No. Because there are competing interests. I'm not saying that those competing interests shouldn't exist, just that they should be acknowledged, and that people shouldn't be pretending that it's all "in the childrens' interests".

I think it is completely logical to be cynical about the altruism of employers pushing for more daycare. I see no reason to believe that they are primarily concerned for the welfare of children or their mothers.

With respect to summer holidays, there are insistent voices on this, and apparently have been for a long time (google-fu). I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to have more, shorter, terms, and holidays spread out more evenly across the year.

(*Next year, my daughter will have to go to school 45 minutes earlier on Wednesdays, because "it has been decided" that teachers must do one extra period a week.)


answered 18 Jan '10, 06:22

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accept rate: 5%

edited 19 Jan '10, 07:01

Wow, that's pretty cynical. I would think that if there were so many interests aligned to keep kids in school longer for their own enrichment, we'd have more hours per day and a longer school year rather than still continuing to use an agrarian calendar.

(18 Jan '10, 15:34) lgritz

Actually Benjol from the educators I've spoken too many teachers, at least in our area, are not on board with this. There are barely enough teachers to go around as it is and it will cost a lot of money. From my understanding the government's perspective is to decrease child care costs for the average household (kindergarten is free, daycare is not) and increase the number of spots for children in daycare centres.

(18 Jan '10, 19:31) Tammy ♦♦

Well I find this whole topic rather upsetting. This is definitely where we should not be in 2010. In Turkey, teachers are extremely underpaid and overworked, with too many students. Governments all over the world should be addressing the issues regarding education at all levels much more scrupulously than they have been doing. Not everyone can afford private schooling, and not everyone should have to.

(19 Jan '10, 16:01) Emi

At 5 years old, are kids ready for this? I suppose it depends on the kid, but they certainly can be. My 3.5-year-old goes to preschool (the "academic" kind, not the play/daycare kind) from 9am-3pm, 5 days/week and he and his classmates are really thriving in it. This is fairly common in the US, though not universal -- there are other preschools that are shorter day, only some days a week, or that are more "play-based", and of course not everyone goes to preschool.

I don't know how to address the problem of how to make the transition from parent 100% of the time to all-day kindergarten. That does sound like an abrupt change. Is there something you can start doing now that's half-way, maybe get your child into a part-time preschool or something?


answered 18 Jan '10, 05:57

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

Most communities in Ontario do have options for preschool. It would be an out of pocket expense for the parents of course but they are typically either every day half day or a couple of days per week half day.

(23 Apr '10, 13:45) Tammy ♦♦

It may be hard for some children to go to all day kindergarten, but they will get use to it. Once they make some friends and get use to being away from Mom that long, they will love it!!! I would find a half day preschool program or a four year old kindergarten program for your child to get use to first if you think your child will have a hard time. I think it is harder on the Mom, then a child.


answered 18 Jan '10, 21:21

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Betsy 1
accept rate: 10%

Just curious - did you have a child in a full day, every day kindergarten program?

(18 Jan '10, 23:28) Scott ♦♦

No, but, I was a full day, every day Kindergarten teacher. Also, I taught in a day care center with 3-5 year old pre-school program. This past year is the first time I am not teaching because I am staying at home with our daughter.

(22 Jan '10, 06:56) Betsy 1

We were worried about this as well, so we took our kids to preschool three days a week for two hours a day just to get them acclimated to someplace not home and someone not mommy. I think it worked out very well and the transition was fairly painless. We've got another daughter in preschool at age 4½ right now for the same reason.


answered 19 Jan '10, 18:42

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My kids are older now, so this won't affect us, but I know when my kids were in kindergarten (all day, every other day), they would always nap, sometimes for several hours, on days when they didn't have school. If they were at school every day at that age, they'd have been falling asleep during dinner. Of course, my kids were always good sleepers, so perhaps they're the exception rather than the rule.


answered 19 Jan '10, 23:30

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in the Kindergarten program I taught at, the children had a rest time....most of them were very hard to get up after the rest time....at the beginning of the year we had an hour rest time...then middle of the year a half hour, then the end of the year, no rest time at all. That was very hard for some students. Though, I taught in a low income area of the city, and most of these children would be staying up very late at night. I would explain to the parents at conferences that it is important that they go to bed early, so they can do their work in school.

(22 Jan '10, 07:03) Betsy 1

Our daughter is an only child, and when she 2 1/2 she was clearly ready to spend time with other kids so we put her in a half-day pre-school. Because she wasn't able to start Kindergarten until she was 5, she spent 3 years in preschool (for the last year we cut it down to 3 days/week)/

I think it helped her transition to Kindergarten that the pre-school is run by the same church that runs the elementary school, but we did wonder a bit if the long Kindergarten day would be a problem. The kids have to be lined up in the gym by 845am, regular school goes to 330pm, she has a Chinese class until 430pm, and then we usually don't pick her up until 5-530pm (the school has an after-school program for kids whose parents can't pick them up and we have her in that so she gets time to play with other kids.)

For the first 4 months, the Kindergarten kids had a nap time in the afternoon - some kids would sleep, but they all got a chance to rest.

The biggest problem we have with the long day is that our daughter needs 10 hours of sleep, and with our commute that only gives her 3 hours to eat, play, do homework, and get ready for bed.


answered 22 Apr '10, 23:33

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Asked: 18 Jan '10, 03:23

Seen: 5,329 times

Last updated: 22 Apr '10, 23:33