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Which is Better: Half-Day vs. Full-Day Kindergarten?

At Las Vegas Day School, we have found a clear contrast in the performance of students who attend full-day kindergarten versus half-day students. Full-day students demonstrate better prosocial skills, test higher on standardized testing, more readily integrate into elementary school, and much more. 

Bearing this in mind, the Las Vegas Day School Kinderschool program includes Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten. These steps facilitate the calm transition between preschool and kindergarten, and give kindergarten students a solid foundation for beginning elementary school. 

 

Does Full-Day Kindergarten Make a Difference?

Full-day kindergarten is receiving more and more attention from parents, teachers, administrators, unions and government representatives, as a better way to approach children’s education. 

These are some of the reasons that full-day kindergarten offers a superior experience for students:

  • Full-day kindergarten prepares students better for elementary school than half-day kindergarten does. Because it is more evenly aligned with the full days that elementary school students spend at school, it gives them a better chance at academic success by preparing them to spend the entire day at school. 
  • Numerous studies show that full-day kindergarten paves the way for greater academic success in elementary school, especially in the areas of reading, mathematics, handwriting, spelling, and English.
  • Students who attend full-day kindergarten showed greater improvement in their GPA between 7th and 8th grade.
  • Several studies have noted that full-day kindergarten students were more ready for first grade than their half-day counterparts.
  • Full-day kindergarten enables teachers a better chance to get to know their students and adapt to their various learning styles than half-day kindergarten.
  • Full-day kindergarten students develop better work habits.
  • Full-day kindergarten nurtures the development of prosocial skills in students.
  • Students of full-day kindergarten receive more satisfactory percentage marks throughout elementary school than half-day kindergarten students.

Much of the research in these studies has been replicated by various other groups and researchers, as well as educators. At LVDS, we have noticed a marked increase in the academic and social skills of full-day students over half-day students.

 

What are the Disadvantages of Full Day Kindergarten?

Of course, full-day kindergarten may also present disadvantages. Most of these disadvantages, however, aren’t based on students’ success, but in the actual development of a full-day kindergarten program itself. Overall, there are very few disadvantages to a full-day program for students:

  • Funding for education is quite limited, and stretching half-day kindergarten into a full-day isn’t fiscally viable for many school districts.
  • Many districts simply do not have the space to accommodate a full-day kindergarten calendar.
  • Class size varies widely, and kindergarten is most effective in classrooms with a student-to-teacher ratio of 17:1 or smaller. Kindergartners in larger classes may not receive the attention required to succeed academically or socially.
  • Full-day kindergartens may be too academic, teaching students a large variety of skills before they know how to use them properly.
  • Full-day kindergarten may present a challenging scope of activities for children who may tire quickly, become stressed, or are fatigued easily.  

It’s important to note that school districts who have developed age-appropriate, non-academic curricula involving carefully-paced activities report fewer problems with students developing stress and fatigue in full-day kindergarten.

 

What are the Advantages of Half-Day Kindergarten? 

As kindergarten is used as a vehicle for transitioning children between preschool to elementary school, half-day programs also come with their own unique advantages for students. These include:

  • A half-day program provides an educational and social experience for children, while creating an effective transition between preschool and elementary school.
  • Half-day programs provide continuity and systematic experience for students.
  • Half-day kindergartens demonstrate a lower probability of stress than full-day programs do.
  • Half-day programs are better-oriented for a five-year old child’s attention span, level of interest, and home ties. 
  • Half-day kindergarten offers children more time at home with their families, in addition to opportunities to learn from life and community experiences.

If the child is in a family that is going through a divorce or another major stressor, however, more family time may not be in their best interest.

 

What are the Disadvantages of Half-Day Kindergarten?

Half-day kindergarten has been the standard for quite some time now. New and better research into students’ academic performance and development of prosocial skills indicates that full-day kindergarten offers students a superior educational experience. Here’s why:

  • Midday disruptions can be difficult for half-day students
  • Transportation difficulties for parents can be troublesome if bussing isn’t offered
  • The expense of additional bus trips to accommodate half-day students may be problematic for the school and/or district
  • Students don’t get the benefits of assemblies or field trips
  • Half-day students demonstrate lower levels of reading and mathematics gains and scores
  • Students in half-day programs are less likely to be adventurous, curious, and exploratory, and are more likely to be introverts

 

Is Kindergarten Full-Day or Half-Day in Nevada?

In Nevada, state-funded full-day kindergarten was approved by the state legislature in 2005. While this measure was lauded by proponents of full-day kindergarten everywhere, it came with a few caveats designed to accommodate half-day students and their families, as well as budgetary considerations: a school district is not required to offer full-day kindergarten, and a family can request that their child attend any kindergarten program for less than a full day. These options give flexibility and accommodation to students struggling to perform in full-day kindergarten programs as well as families who desire more time together before their child begins elementary school.

 

Your Full-Day Kindergarten in Las Vegas

At Las Vegas Day School, we understand the importance of preparing your child for success starting at a young age. Our full-day kindergarten program is designed to give your student the academic and social support needed to transition smoothly into elementary school. Additionally, our kinderschool programs are designed to facilitate smooth transitions between preschool, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten. 

We know that you want to give your child every tool available to encourage them to succeed academically and prosocially. We’re committed to providing your student with the foundation they need in a full-day kindergarten program where they can flourish. Our first priority is the success and happiness of our students, and our learning environments encourage academic achievement, the development of social skills, and comfortable transitions. We hope to hear from you soon!

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