Timberlane’s Director of Elementary Education, Mrs. Killen, said that full-time kindergarten may be on the horizon for the district. Although this was in the context of a meeting with the budget committee on June 28th, it was by way of a heads up for future budgetary considerations.
I don’t know how far along these plans are, if at all, or what the budgetary impact might be. My concern is not fiscal so much as sociological. Pre-school education such as that provided disadvantaged children in the Head Start program seems to have no lasting benefits by the end of first grade. (See links below.) I haven’t discovered part-time vs. full-time kindergarten studies, but it does seem some skepticism about expected outcomes is in order. I also worry about the danger of too much peer socialization at an early age. My observation with my own children is that time tends to equal impact. The more time very young children spend in the company of their peers, the more likely they are to become peer focused instead of parent/adult focused. This doesn’t happen to all children, of course, and many parents value socialization at an early age. That said, once my children were spending more of their waking hours at school than at home, I had to hope solid values would see them through peer pressure, bullying, and other moral challenges. I was grateful I had those extra hours each day at an impressionable age to instill my values and to teach my children right from wrong by talking to them about their half day kindergarten adventures.