Over the past three decades, enrollment in full-day kindergarten has considerably grown from roughly one-tenth to just over half of U.S. kindergartners today. This educational program is also known as all-day kindergarten or extended-day kindergarten program. Full-day kindergarten reappeared first in the 1960s as an intervention designed to help disadvantaged children “catch up” to their peers through additional schooling. Since the 1970s, the number of children who have been enrolled in the full-day kindergarten programs has tripled (Miller, 2002). More recently, full-day kindergarten has gained popularity among non-poor parents and schools; children presently enrolled in full-day programs are, on average, very similar to their half-day counterparts in baseline test scores as well as other child, parent, and school characteristics. Longitudinal data findings from existing literature to investigate the impact of full-day kindergarten – such as standardized test scores in mathematics and reading, as children progress from kindergarten to first grade –suggest that full-day kindergarten has sizeable impacts on academic achievement, but these estimated gains are short-lived, particularly for minority children. Given the additional expense of full-day kindergarten, information regarding the size and duration of gains should be of great interest to policymakers.
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Increase in the number of one-parent and working-parents families and the issue that most young children spend a larger portion of their day away from their homes show important changes in the American household life in comparison to an age group in the past. These changes in the American culture and in schooling over the past 2 decades have had their impact on the reputation of full-day, all-day-a-week kindergarten education in a number of communities. Empirical research shows that parents are in favor of an all-school-day educational session which lessons the number of changes students in kindergarten go through in a general day. Studies also suggest that a lot of students have an academic advantage and social benefit during their primary educational years from contribution made by an all-day kindergarten program, in comparison to a half-day kindergarten program (Saam, Nowak, 2005).
Results of Full-School-day Kindergarten on Academic Success
How does length of school day affect kindergartners’ achievement? Full-school-day kindergarten is now being established and put under investigation in school districts throughout the US. There are a lot of arguments in favor of full-day kindergarten; initially, all students of kindergarten age have need of a secure and inspiring atmosphere for more than two hours each day. After that, those children who are belated in mental or physical growth, visibly or psychologically, gain by spending more time in a full-day kindergarten for better nourishment and for attaining expertise in the areas in which they show a delay. Moreover, full-school-day kindergarten may assist to even the playing ground for those children who could not afford highly-expensive kindergarten education. In addition, teachers are more likely to give to children better individualized attention if they are allowed half as many children for twice as much as the normal time. Finally, our culture requires its young students to acquire important skills in advance in their school life. A lot of preschool instructors support full-school-day kindergarten because they find it hard to stabilize mental actions and emotional/social practices in the small kindergarten session. Working fathers and mothers value the advantages of the full-school-day kindergarten schedule to their employment schedule, because it decreases the number of transitions that the students go through in everyday life.
Some kindergartners attend half-day sessions while some attend full-day sessions. A typical half-day session offers 2 ½ to 3 hours of instruction in either morning or afternoon periods. Some schools offer at-risk kindergartners a repeat half-day session. In this program, the children attend a regular half-day session in the morning, and then attend a repeated session in the afternoon. While these students are at school all day, this is not the same as a full-day program. A full-day kindergarten program uses curriculum which is developed for kindergarten-aged children and plans for 5-6 hours of instruction per day. Morning activities are not repeated in the afternoon session. Instead, more time is devoted to social and other enrichment activities. This type of program is usually offered to all kindergarten students.
The attempt of setting up pre-school children for just a half day has become more a purpose of finances (less costly to schedule two clusters of students for half-day per) than of early education (Fusaro, 1997). Numerous pre-school students who do not go to full-school-day kindergarten go to a playgroup course or are left in daycare centers for the rest of their daytime; henceforth full-school-day kindergarten is not highly demanding for them. In 1988, about 23 percent of children attended full-day kindergarten. In 1993, 55 percent of kindergartners were in full-day programs (Wolgemuth, Cobb, Winokur, Leech, & Ellerby, 2003). Children were more on the point of being in full-school-day sessions if they were in high-poverty and/or marginal educational programs. Federal funding for at-risk children frequently finances or increases the support of full-school-day kindergarten. Policy makers are continually investigating if full-day kindergarten is the best use of school resources and if some programs are more effective than others.
Although many school systems still provide only half-day kindergarten programs, the trend in the United States has shown a tendency toward the implementation of all-day kindergarten. In the early 1980s, only about 30 percent of U.S. kindergarten children attended all-day kindergarten (Holmes & McConnell, 1990); by the early 1990s, the number rose to nearly 50 percent (Karweit, 1992). By 1993, however, 54 percent of U.S. full-school-day instructors were providing services in full-school-day programs.
This trend has grown as a result of both social changes and educational concerns (Holmes & McConnell, 1990; Karweit, 1992; Cryan, Sheehan, Wiechel, & Bandy, 1992). With greater numbers of single parent and dual income families in the workforce, parents increasingly need full-day education programs for their young children. Researchers (e.g., Hough & Bryde, 1996) have found that most teachers also prefer all-day kindergarten programs.
Initial studies conducted to gauge the significance of full-school-day kindergarten found varied outcomes. Most of the previous research observed poor analysis standards which produced serious issues in terms of validity threats of both internal and external types; as a result, the consequences were contradictory and open to doubt. A number of studies of all-day kindergarten were conducted in the 1990s. While they also provided complicated results, some noteworthy trends appeared.
The pre-school progress has experienced various changes as the weight of educational, collective, and emotional hypotheses have developed. At this time, what instructors are discussing in this area might be a revival of something which had been put into practice earlier than the end of the last century.
Pre-school has a history of 176 years. The beginning of pre-school was initiated in 1837 by Frederick Froebel, a German theorist and teacher. He was of the view that students after the age of 3 should be given in the custody of an appropriately qualified educator for a part of the day. Froebel viewed teaching as supportive element in growth of young children and highlighted self-aimed practices which promoted the young child’s innate interest and developed an insight of social duty. He established the system of resources centering on motor abilities of young children that he planned for his school. Froebel concentrated little on the per-day duration of the pre-school day.
In 1856, Froebel’s student, Margaret Schurz, started the first pre-school for German-speaking children in Wisconsin, US. From Wisconsin, the pre-school trend extended to Boston in 1860 where Elizabeth Peabody started the first program, English-language play schools. By 1873, the first community kindergarten was initiated in St. Louis by Susan Blow. By the 1880’s a number of kindergarten programs had emerged in the community educational settings throughout the US. In US, therefore, the trend of kindergarten education began as a full-school-day program and went on unless World War II broke out. Due to the lack of capable teachers, physical space, the rising rates of birth, and a collective opinion that 5-year-old children were not old enough for a full-school-day program, the half-day play school trend once again became popular. A number of techniques and theories have come and gone from the scene; yet most have been acknowledged for the weight about the full-school-day kindergarten instruction. Scholars at this time propose that more time is required for exceptional learning in the initial years.
Cognitive skills are acquired during social interactions in which mature people work as scaffold for young students when necessary, moving back at the appropriate time and allowing children to learn those skills, imitate performances, and integrate them into accessible arrangements of knowledge. This kind of procedure for child education needs more time for better learning, something that can bring about various types of experiences. This is not likely to be promising in the half-day educational programs due to lack of time.
Associating these views to educational growth in early childhood is significant. Developmental definitions should emerge from opinions which have long-reaching attainment likelihood for the learning of small children. A number of research studies have shown positive result of intervention has played an important role in children’s speech progress, and a number of cognitive skills. This age is also a point in time when young children start to acquire self-reliance and expand their self-esteem, social skills, and peer communications. Strong emphasis on the growth of these personality traits in the first year of education, develop important educational and social skills in children. This paper will review relevant literature on full-school-day kindergarten and the outcomes of the time of school day on the achievement of kindergartners. Primarily, some statistical considerations will be examined, and then in terms of all possible aspects a number of studies will be reviewed.
Results of Full-School-Day Kindergarten on Educational Achievement
Kauerz and Denver (2005). It should be noted that few early childhood educators inquire of the worth of full-day kindergarten in the social, affective, and cognitive growth of the young student. Practical research on the influence of full-day kindergartens demonstrate that, in spite of the rhetoric of critics, there are no harmful effects of full-day kindergarten education on children and students in full-day programs exhibit considerably stronger educational achievements than those who attend half-day programs. An extensive review of research (www.nces.ed.gov, 2008) reveals that in the 1998-99 school year, 61 percent of schools in the US that offered a kindergarten course had at least one full-day kindergarten group.
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A larger percentage of Catholic schools had full-day kindergarten (78 percent) as compared to other schools of private sector (63 percent) or public schools (57 percent). A larger proportion of public schools in the South had full-day kindergarten (84 percent) as compared to public schools in other areas of the country (38 percent in the West, 57 percent in the Midwest, and 37 percent in the Northeast). Full-day kindergarten was also more common in the public schools in cities (64 percent) and in small towns or rural areas (63 percent) as compared to expensive areas (46 percent). Generally, 56 percent of children went to a full-school-day kindergarten programs (www.nces.ed.gov, 2008). Martinez and Snider (2001) reviewed three extensive studies and found that all the three studies showed that full-day kindergarten programs suitable for kindergarten age student offer cognitive, social, physical, and emotional advantages for students.
Burress at el. (2004) conducted a report to address the issues of finances and establishment of full-day kindergarten in Minnesota. They looked into a number of issues in kindergarten research and also beyond. They expanded their analysis to a number of neighboring cities and other areas. Their findings, in terms of academic achievement, were consistent with the past research that full-day kindergarten students scored higher academically. However, they point out that tendency to score higher in kindergarten lasts until the first grade. They mention a study conducted in Ohio that showed that the effects of full-day kindergarten were present in the students’ progress in first grade. However, it is important to critically examine the limitations of the study to evaluate the challenges that are present in full-day kindergarten research. The authors note that whereas a large number of researchers are the proponents of full-day kindergarten program; it is equally note-worthy that many researchers oppose this view. For example, in one study, the differences that were found in full-day and half-day kindergarten schools in the areas of recognition, vocabulary, comprehension, and mathematics were later attributed to gender. They mention “Other studies have similarly found no significant difference” (Burress, at el., p. 12, 2004).
However, in some of the studies, researcher methodology was questioned for small sample size, and such technical issues. This area is still challenging because a large volume of literature shows that full-day kindergarten seems to have positive academic outcomes; however, a few studies also suggest that full-day kindergarten fails to meet better academic outcomes. A review of extensive literature on full-day kindergarten informs of the obvious gaps found in the present research. One of the most significant gaps is the lack of research on long-term results. There is a necessity for more longitudinal studies which have an experimental research plan that would permit more solid conclusions about results in the long-term. Additionally, there are serious methodological issues regarding internal and external validity. Much of the investigation is abstract, lacks details of the underlying processes; as a result, it is complicated to determine how results were acquired, calling into question the statistical techniques that was made use of in the studies. Burress at el. (2004) quote Da Costa, who suggested that future research should engage larger sample sizes and longer data compilation time.
On the whole, Burress et al. (2004) mention three major problems in current research on full-day kindergarten. First, few research investigations give explicit consideration to the effects that racial or ethnic identity issues or poverty might have on theoretical foundations of the investigation. Second, studies hardly register how time is assigned in half-day or full-day kindergarten programs. Third, the issues of methodological concerns is perhaps more serious. Current research tends to have failed to apply adequate scientific tools of control to make an analysis for confusing factors to break up the effects of kindergarten from other early childhood issues like educational support at home, daycare or attendance of pre-school time. Therefore, full-day kindergarten has its own challenging areas that still need grave attention even though research clearly demonstrates short-term positive benefits of such programs Burress at el. (2004).
Valerie at el. (2005) also conducted a study to address the major policy issues in early childhood education, i.e., whether full-day kindergarten students learn more than those children who are in half-day kindergarten; the issue of social equity was also taken into consideration. The data of the study were drawn from a two-year cohort (1998-99) which were aimed to document the status of educational achievement and progress on the nation-wide schools from kindergarten to fifth grade. The design and structure of data collection were arranged level-wise; 1277 public and private schools were selected nationally and a random sample of approximately 24 children from each school was drawn. Children were tested at fall and spring sessions; parents were interviewed by telephone; teachers of each kindergarten child were presented with a survey questionnaire.
A school administrator was also surveyed in the fall session. As such, this study design presents a triangulation of data focusing to increase internal research validity which correlates to external validity issues as well. Private schools were over-sampled due to different community groups. The data were analyzed in three stages. Three types of students were selected: those students who were somehow important; those who had highest cognitive score on tests; these students also had a non-omitted weight of value. In the second stage, school samples were refined by selecting the schools filed in ECLS-K; in the second the ones that, offered full- or half-day schooling (not both, though); and the last type had at least five children from initial sampling. Some other measures were also taken in the sampling stage which was mainly central on this major design scheme. In the analysis phase, individual children were measured on literacy, numeracy, and general knowledge skills, at the end of kindergarten year. Multilevel questions and methods were used. A multilevel strategy for analysis was also used which was hierarchical linear modeling or HLM. Results were both descriptive and quantitative (Valerie at el., 2005).
Results show that English-speaking children are more likely to attend the full-day kindergarten schools than those from non-English speaking background. There are other subdivisions of this analysis. They also found that half-day kindergartners have slightly higher scores of mathematics and literacy skills though the difference is small. However, by the end, the half-day kindergartners’ math advantage shrunk considerably. Social and academic backgrounds were interrelated; whereas, poverty status and SES were also moderately related. There are other benefits that the full-day kindergartners have over the half-day children (Valerie at el., 2005).
The issues and critical areas of concerns according to Valerie et al. are of significant worth to mention at this point in the paper. The researchers make notice of the fact that present research on kindergarten has a number of shortcomings. In general, present research is weak in terms of scientific thoroughness, small-size samples; population which is unique; range of control which are limited; “a paucity of longitudinal designs, and inappropriate analysis methods”. Moreover, most studies pay attention to students’ academic results and fewer look into the issues of behavioral and social outcomes of the students, or attitudes of teachers and parents (Valerie at el., p. 07, 2005). Therefore, there is a need to encompass these issues with regard to the effectiveness of full-day kindergarten so that policy making process can become more effective satisfactory for all the parties.
Elicker (2000) notes that today, a number of the benefits associated with full-day kindergarten programs still remain as either anecdotal or are merely based on a single-district studies of a number of related issues. These studies, according to Elicker, have failed to control for such variables as to what the family income level is; the mobility issue, what the parents’ level of education is; and other factors that might have an effect on students’ performance examined in any studies with no regard to the kindergarten schedule. It has also been proved challenging, according to Elicker, how to isolate the effects of extra class time from such factors as class size, teaching methodology, experiences of the teachers, and involvement of parents. It is note-worthy that Elicker points to the critical area of curriculum. According to this researcher, it is possible that change in curriculum alone when shifting from half-day to full-day kindergarten schedule might also be responsible for notable differences in children’s academic achievement.
The author also brings forward the challenging fact that there is another problem with the existing body of research on full-day kindergarten with regard to the sampling assignment of students. Elicker points out that few studies assigned students to the full-day and half-day classrooms which were being studied. What is instead found in relevant studies, specifically in pilot studies, is that students show a tendency to voluntarily enroll in full-day kindergarten programs. Far from supplying a random sample of the population of students, this practice might tilt research in favor of the full-day kindergarten programs merely because of the fact that higher more academically superior children were recruited. Elicker (1997) further notes that due to these limitations, research findings on full-day kindergarten usually show a mixed state which is all the more confusing for clear policy-making and implementation of full-day kindergarten programs.
However, Elicker notes similar virtues and ambiguities of full-day kindergarten by saying that research suggests that full-day kindergarten programs show that students progress better academically in a kindergarten year when assessed by achievement tests than those students enrolled in either half-day or alternate-day programs. He further notes that tentative evidence is found with regard to the evidence that full-day kindergarten has longer-lasting, stronger educational advantages for children who come from low-income families or others with fewer academic resources available to them prior to kindergarten. However, Elicker notes that there is no evidence detrimental for a full-day kindergarten. And if the curriculum is appropriately developed, it does not seem to overstress or burden the students who are five and six years old. The author points out that both parents and kindergarten teachers regard full-day kindergarten as being effective in terms of increased flexibility and opportunities for individualized instructions offered in a full-day kindergarten program (Elicker, pp. 8-9, 2000).
Full-school-day kindergarten sessions also have gains for parents. These programs can lower possible childcare costs and can provide superior quality education to children lower-income families, which might only be possible to acquire in a private market. They are also likely to face less difficulty in scheduling childcare and costs of transportation. The parents may also find ample opportunities to communicate with the teachers and get involved with the classroom progress of their child or children (Brewster, & Railsback, p. 13, 2002).
For teachers, the authors points to a number of benefits of full-day kindergarten as well. They note that a in full-day kindergarten educational program teachers can have more time; moreover, they can find more time to spend with individual students as well as in small groups. They also have more time to get to know and interact with the parents of their students. They are more likely to have possibilities of individualized instructions for their students with more opportunities to evaluate them and address their individual needs. The kindergarten teachers will find fewer students in a full-day program (20 to 25 students) as compared to half-day programs where there may be 40 to 50 students (Brewster, & Railsback, p. 13, 2002).
When it comes to full-day kindergarten and students’ higher academic achievement, it is important to analyze some studies that go beyond kindergarten. One study was conducted by Neuharth (2005) to examine the time effect kindergarten session and its result on achievement as well as which category of program is beneficial for students whose families have low to modest incomes. The researchers collected statistical data for children previously enrolled in either half-day or full-day kindergarten sessions, along with uniform test scores at the end of the third-grade year. Furthermore, the researcher carried out 14 interviews with kindergarten teachers in three different school districts in the mid-western part of the United States (p. 57).
Results from the analysis of children’s data brought forward some challenges because no differences in third-grade achievement in mathematics were found for children who were in the two types of kindergarten educational programs. In fact, students who went to full-day kindergarten achieved considerably lower on the language arts segment of the state-organized test. Students who went to morning kindergarten programs scored notably better than the children who were enrolled in all-day kindergarten on standardized assessments tests in language arts and math at the close of third grade. These results were did not include students who went to afternoon kindergarten programs when examined opposite of full-day kindergarten children, i.e., at the close of 3rd grade. These findings suggest a great controversy is still present in either the support or opposition of either full-day and half-day kindergarten programs and need to be extensively explored before any clear policy is proposed (Neuharth, p. 57, 2005).
Boardman, M. (2002) conducted a study that undertook the Tasmanian teachers’ concerns regarding the rewards and shortcomings of both full-day or half-day kindergarten programs. This study is significant in relation to the present paper because of its in depth discussion of related issues. The population for the research was kindergarten teachers who were from three of the six Tasmanian school districts. All state primary and high schools district (n=92) were taken into consideration, with each kindergarten teacher in these as a contributor in the study (n=104). This size ensured sufficient representation of the general kindergarten school students in Tasmania. Survey responses were received by mail from 86 kindergarten teachers (83 percent reply rate), consisting 53 full-day and 46 half-day teachers, with 13 teaching full-day as well as half-day kindergarten programs respectively. Interviews which were follow-up and semi-structured, were carried out with small groups of 8 to 10 self-chosen teachers who were from every school districts, to judge aspects arising from the study (Boardman, p. 6, 2002).
The results show that as shown in the study graphs, respondents held two main benefits of full-day kindergarten attendance. First of all, all-day programs of kindergarten offered a shift to full-time schooling in the following Prep programs. Second, teachers were capable of offering time for in-depth experiences and curriculum-related matters. Full-day teachers firmly believe that these are beneficial areas. Half-day teachers also believed in the advantages of their programs. Amusingly, no half-day teachers made mention of social skill benefits for the children, though full-day instructors supplied 12 percent of the general responses to this advantage (Boardman, p. 6, 2002).
According to Brewster and Railsback (2002), it is not easy to reach to conclusions from the existing body of research on full-day kindergarten. It is partly because of the fact that from school to school, students’ populations and kindergarten practices vary in nature and outlook. The authors mention the following benefits of full-day kindergarten for different parties and support their claims by citing substantial references from empirical findings. For students, they have more time to play language games and more opportunities to explore other subjects in an in-depth approach. Additionally, students in full-day kindergarten can benefit from a learning environment which is more flexible and individualized. The full-day kindergartners can have interactions with each other which are more individual and small-group interactions with their teachers and peers, something which is not possible in most half-day programs (Boardman, p. 6, 2002).
The graph in the study shows that teachers believed it to be the key benefit of half-day programs of kindergarten to be child-related. They made reference to children being all set to study, and showing high-class attentiveness skills. The next feature of half-day attendance was stability within the education program, proved by the order and consistent nature of learning, with routines being identified and practiced (Boardman, p. 6, 2002).
The study, overall found that shortage of program permanence in full-day school was affecting little children’s education, particularly those with serious learning needs. Teachers in full-day kindergarten felt that they were no more teachers but child-minders in the afternoons. Additionally, half-day kindergarten teachers, particularly those taught in full-day programs, showed that they were involved discussions with, and took suggestions of classroom help from, parents. Social skill learning for children was seen to be positive from both modes of attendance (Boardman, p. 6, 2002).
Saam and Nowak (2005) conducted a complete comparative research of full-day kindergarten versus half-day kindergarten for three mid-western school districts in the United States. Quantitative data were collected in the form of scores on a state achievement test (ISTEP+) and qualitative data by semi-structured interviews with Title I full day kindergarten teachers. A range of data were gathered and examined, and cross-referencing full-day against half-day data with statistical information. (p. 27).
ISTEP+ Scores Statistical analysis was finished for the school where the third-grade (ISTEP+) scores were acquired. 3rd grade was the first year after kindergarten that the a consistent test was held being state-funded. Researchers gathered and evaluated ISTEP+ scores for 3rd-grade children earlier registered in either a full day kindergarten or a half day kindergarten in that district. Contrasts centered on the outcomes of the ISTEP+ in language arts and mathematics. Language arts ISTEP+ scores were recorded for 1,963 3rd-grade children. Mathematics ISTEP+ scores record was obtained for 1,978 third-grade children. Student demographic data, with sex, background, and food codes (socioeconomic status), were used to arrange the analogous data. Researchers implemented statistical tests to analyze the comparison between full day kindergarten and half day kindergarten (Saam, & Nowak, p. 27, 2005).
On semi-structured interviews the order was as follows. First students were taken together, out of the total 3,032 children, 34.5 percent were registered in the full-day kindergarten program and 65.5 percent were enrolled in the half-day kindergarten program (either in morning or afternoon). All full day kindergarten school were Title I schools. According to the Mann-Whitney nonparametric test, those 3rd-grade children earlier enrolled in the full-day kindergarten sessions scored considerably (p <0.001) lower on the language arts segment than children earlier enrolled in the half-day session. No important variation was seen in the mathematics segment of the test (Saam, & Nowak, p. 27, 2005).
Boardman, in another study, (2005) presents considerable number of references to show that there is some likelihood that full-day kindergarten places higher stress on students; and that full-day programs are developmentally inappropriate for young students. To investigate how parents react to this issue, Boardman conducted a study to identify parents’ perceptions.
Boardman (2005) conducted an investigation to examine parents’ response about full-school-day against half-school-day kindergarten. It is a very technical study and worth mentioning here. The quantitative data were acquired from parents’ for a form of kindergarten attendance was entered into an Excel worksheet. The outcomes were analyzed for the occurrence and percentage of answers that showed parents’ interest for full-day, half-day or both programs.
Results from the second phase of the study’s survey comprised qualitative data acquired from staff when they were requested to supply motives for their interest. Parents were given the choice of more than one motive for their inclination. To allow comparative scrutiny of this qualitative data, information given was coded into issues, topics and concepts with quantitative opinions being prepared by evaluation of the statistical outlines of the coded data. Reflection on percentages made comparison of the two groups of parents possible (half-day and full-day), balancing for possible issues connected with the different statistical volume of the half-day and full-day groups. Results showed that 62.7 percent of parents favored full-day kindergarten for their child, whereas 34.3 percent parents considered that half-day programs were exceptional for their child. Just four parents pointed that they would be satisfied with either kind of kindergarten (Boardman, p. 36, 2005).
A study conducted by doctoral students (Cannon at el., 2005) is important to mention here because of its nature of longitudinal research design conducted to weight the effectiveness of full-day kindergarten attendance with regard to achievement. In the span of 1998-9, Cannon, at el. conducted this study to “evaluate the efficiency of” full-day kindergarten and higher achievement. The researchers undertook this study on a nationwide level selecting data of 22,000 students including Asians and children from private schools as well. The second sample was the schools under PSUs; furthermore, the children in schools were also selected as final samples. Information was collected from a triangulation technique, i.e., from parents, administrative databases, parents, children, and teachers of kindergarten. Analysis sample was examined on students’ achievements in the areas of the six outcomes examined: math achievement scores, reading achievement scores, internal behavior problems, external behavior problems, grade retention, and maternal full-time employment status. This study is significant not only with regard to its time span but also of it scope of sampling. The data were examined through the OLS and Probit Regression Models. Dependent and independent variables were also dealt in a effectively, that they include outside variables that took place in a child’s household to ensure better validity claims.
To effectively deal with selection bias, the researchers divided the samples into various subgroups such as poor, non-poor, boys and girls. Data analysis shows a consistency with the past research. Higher social status, higher age, living in a two-parent house, and having better educational environment leads to higher educational achievement than those with disabilities or those who are African-Americans. Furthermore, the students who scored higher in the fall tended to score higher in the spring as well. Reading score, for instance, was reported to increase by.145 standard deviation in a full-day kindergarten environment. However, the link between working parents and full-day kindergarten is still a challenging area. In this study it was expected that full-day kindergarten would lead to mothers full-day work. However, this does not seem to be an empirically tested ground because much research was not done in this area. Nonetheless, the increasing scores in full-day kindergarten show the effectiveness of full-day kindergarten. However, the limitation or a critical area of this study was that it estimated a small model of outcomes whereas there are a lot of instruments to, for instance estimate the correlational values that this research conducted. Likewise, as is possible in a longitudinal study, the direction of the research was also ambiguous. As such much is needed to bring out more solid evidence whether full-day kindergarten, showing higher achievement at the same time, is beneficial in other areas as well (Cannon at el., 2005).
And there are many documents that list a number of benefits that full-day kindergarten carries. These documents rely on empirical research. A document is Extended Kindergarten Feasibility Study (n. a., 2006). This paper makes reference of Valerie at el. (2002) to state that full-day kindergarten students’ reading and mathematics skills are reported to be better than those students not in the full-day kindergarten programs. This paper also cites Cryan at el. (1992) to state that social behavior of kindergarten students also becomes enhanced. They are expected not to demonstrate much anger, removal, timidity, or accusing behavior; they are expected, also, to come up to the teacher.
When it comes to full-day kindergarten research, it is hard to overlook the huge volume of research found with ERIC. Clark (2001) states similar finding with regard to the students’ high scores on achievement tests such as reading and mathematics. Clark also refers to the positive evidence that full-day kindergarten students showed higher fondness toward learning social skills. Furthermore, the responses from the parents and the teachers are also positive with regard to the all-day kindergarten programs. Clark cites Hough (1996) who states that parents feel positive for full-day kindergarten programs because they found that teachers gave suggestions, feedback, and help for home-based activities which carries considerable weight for the parents. Likewise, teachers report that they feel more relaxed, and have more time to make more activities which are creative.
The critical area of curriculum research and full-day kindergarten is important to examine. Clark refers to such findings as the full-day kindergarten teachers use more group activities than those in half-day kindergarten. The instructions were also individualized. However, according to Clark, this area, the link and type of curriculum to full-day kindergarten is to be explored further. This is a challenging area due to the fact that as the time passes, it is important to note how teachers work in more time available to them in terms of designing activities as well as allocating individualized time to the students, more importantly when they are up to their second year of school. This area of research is challenging in another respect that effective planning and implementation of a curriculum is much more complex in almost all the areas from working out activities to conducting those activities. Likewise, curriculum may be didactic and this may not be very suitable for the full-day kindergarten students, and which must be resisted both by parents and teachers (Olsen, & Zigler, cited in Clark, 2001).
Additionally, there are a number of websites which assert that full-day kindergarten is the only best option for young students; www.thestar.com is one example; there are other pages that critically evaluate both programs, www.kidsource.com is a good example.
The majority of the studies on full-school-day kindergarten point to positive benefits for young students in relation to educational achievement. Parents and teachers seem to prefer all-day kindergarten over half-day kindergarten for a variety of reasons. However, Gullo (1990) cautions that the most important aspect of the full-day kindergarten may not be the length of the kindergarten day, but rather what happened during that day. He states that “all day kindergarten has the potential being either a blessing or a bane for young children. This will depend on which types of pressures prevail in influencing the development of the all-day kindergarten program” (p. 38). Gullo and others (Olsen & Zigler,1989; Rothenberg, 1995) warn educators and parents to resist the pressure to include increasingly more didactic academic instructional programs for all day kindergarten, which they argue, would be inappropriate for young children. More research may help to decide whether educators are able to reorganize what courses are conventional and which can be implemented to maintain the standards of educational development in full-school-day kindergarten.
Educators, parents, and policymakers must remember that what children do in kindergarten may be more important than how long they stay in the classroom each day. Findings from latest research suggest that a more extended day may provide young students the chance to use more time, child-centered activities. In these classes, teachers seem to go through less pressure of time limitations and might be better capable of working with their students. They report that they are able to work on themes in greater depth and can allow children more opportunities to choose activities and develop their own interests (Elicker & Mathur, 1997). Based on recent research, it appears that all-day kindergarten can offer to children a developmentally appropriate curriculum, while at the same time providing academic benefits.
The brain of a five-year-old child is ready to learn, and is able to be exposed to a wider range of curriculum that can be taught in a full-school-day kindergarten. Latest investigation in early childhood growth suggests that at this age a child’s mind is most open to knowledge. It is very important that the a five-year old child be exposed to learning that is progressively suitable, something which will be rewarding, and something that will facilitate to construct good basis which would ensure their future learning being stable and productive. Inspiring activities facilitate a young mind to construct the brain cells which carry education and self-governing considerations. Going through these stages, the child would be capable of developing the whole physical, intellectual, social and affective balance desirable at present and in the future. The early period of a young student’s life is vital for the reinforcement of the after school education, both in the social-affective growth of a child, and in the development of important cognitive skills are required for comprehension and writing. It is a common observation that the young students are able to learn to an adequate understanding when they are given suitable education that can be rightly obtained at their level. The analysis and critical evaluation of the education-learning approach is likely to assist the teacher to identify stages of a child’s learning and to supply appropriate learning experience for all pre-school students, apart from the time span of the day they spend in schools.
This idea has appeared in the choices of public school kindergarten plans. The significance of early child-centered teaching for real-life has been understood. A point on all-day or full-day kindergarten that stretches the span of time young students spend in school every day and that is different from the time span of four to eight hours, is being re-examined. Some investigators believe that extensive time in instruction permits more time for the advance of school related skills that have high benefits for parents and teachers. Others state anxiety that full-day school has altered the hopes of what young students ought to know when they enter first grade and also that an advance suitable for full-day pre-school ought to be a semi-day of practical exercises at the start of the day and a sleep/rest time in the day or an in-school daycare situation that does not usually take place in a full-school-day kindergarten course. A lot of researchers opine that chair work, spreadsheets, and near the beginning teaching in interpretation or other educational topics are mainly unsuitable in kindergarten. Child-focused full-school-day kindergarten programs (Cannon, Jacknowitz, Painter, 2006) can play very important role in other aspects as noted above in details. Now young students show signs of unwillingness, and look like unintentional victim of irresistible pressure – the pressure caused by rapid, confusing adjustment and continually increasing hopes.
- Full day kindergarten is associated with a wide range of positive results, including improved student achievement and social and behavioural development.
- Full day format allowed time to address state standards more effectively and address the diverse learning needs of students of differing abilities. This effect cannot be assessed for a few years, but the impact on ISTEP+ scores could be substantial if teacher perceptions are precise.
- Any state-funded full day kindergarten program should include an evaluation component to promote accountability. Although evaluation is critical to the success of any educational program, evaluation is especially important in situations where programs should result in new expenses and new savings – a system should be put in place to ensure that savings related to reduced special education referrals are being realized.
- The positive outcomes associated with full day kindergarten appear to be larger for disadvantaged students.
- Full day kindergarten appears to be effective in reducing achievement gaps. If funding for universal full day kindergarten is not available in the current economic climate, funding could be focused on providing full day kindergarten to schools with low achieving subgroups of students. National research suggests that minority students and students of lower socio-economic status are more likely to benefit from full day programs if the class size is fewer than 25 and an assistant is available in the classroom.
- Full day kindergarten, regardless of its organization and funding system, is expensive relative to half day programs. Costs include additional teachers, instructional aides, and classroom space.
- Schools use a range of strategies to pay for full day kindergarten programs. The most common sources of funding are the state general fund, existing Title I funds, and parent fees (often calculated on a sliding scale relative to family income).
- Savings resulting from full day kindergarten are difficult to determine. Significant savings should be realized over the long-term due to reduced special education referrals and the need for less remediation, reduced need for midday transportation and crossing guards, and reduced need for half day childcare programs. However, childcare costs will not be entirely eliminated, as many families may still rely on childcare both before and after students attend full day programs each day.
- A number of existing “full day” programs may actually be extended day programs, which are often staffed with aides. Any anticipated savings based on the existence of current programs may prove to be smaller than anticipated.
- Alternate day full day programs are appealing due to the potential for reduced costs, but this type of program is generally not associated with positive results relative to every day full day or every day half day programs.
- A better perspective is that the added time in a full day program fundamentally changes the nature of activities that occur in that program. Not only do teachers tend to do more in full day programs, they tend to do more of the instructional strategies that researchers recommend to promote young children’s learning.
- Although a few studies suggest that small class sizes are more effective than full day kindergarten in raising student achievement, other studies provide evidence that full day classes of moderate size (e.g., fewer than 25 students) are optimal. Full-school-day kindergarten does not necessarily relieve the negative results of big class directions on scholar achievement.
Latest empirical findings favor the efficiency of full-school-day kindergarten courses which are appropriate regarding development, informs of the fact that they have educational and affective advantages for students of young age. In a full-day kindergarten, less anxious education established for student requirements and fitting assessment of children’s growth adds to the efficiency of the curriculum. Whereas these may be distinctiveness of half-day courses, a lot of young students appear to have advantage, from full-day kindergarten. Certainly, the time-span of a school day is merely one single facet of the kindergarten understanding. Other significant matters comprise the characteristic of the kindergarten syllabus and the worth of education.
Parents of a child that see child daycare plan being better than kindergarten are particularly paying attention to all-day programs. All-day programs are also well-liked with schools since it washes out the requirement to give means of transportation at midday time. In a lot of areas, public as well as private kindergarten programs offer full-school-day kindergarten. Yet, a few educators, representatives, and parents favor half-day, each-day preschool. They believe that half-day preschools are less expensive and thus provide a sufficient teaching and shared social experience for young students when they get to know schools life; this is more productive if they have been in kindergarten. A number of areas therefore present not only half-day but also full-day pre-school courses whenever possible; however, the rising trend is in the way of full-school-day programs (Wolgemuth, Cobb, Winokur, Leech, Ellerby, 2003).
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