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Ridgewood the great debate ;Full-day vs Half-day Kindergarten: “do it fir da kidz”

October 5,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Ridgewood now joins the great debate ;Full-day vs Half-day Kindergarten. Lets face it in the Village we have many parents who seem very pro-full day because it saves money on day care . We also have another group that believes it better prepares children to acquire basic skills for learning  . Still others like the teachers union see it as job producing and more yet want to give their kids a leg up on global competition.

The detractors feel its nothing more than additional baby sitting ,that the results do not really justify the extra time ; that kids need time to be kids, and parents should act like parents . Some feel that too much control is given to the schools and that one sided points of views will be pushed even further stunting creativity and intellectual curiosity .

But first lets take a look at the history ,Kindergarten dates all the way back to the 1800s when it began as a full-day program.Half-day Kindergarten actually began during WWII when schools across the country began to cut their kindergarten classes back to a half-day in order to free up additional labor.

Full-day kindergarten reappeared in the 1960s as an intervention to help disadvantaged children catch up to their peers through additional schooling. But, now it has gained popularity among middle class two income families. Over the past 30 years, where the percentage of children in full-day programs has grown from 10% to just over half of U.S. kindergartners.

The rationale for full-day kindergarten has been and continues to be that the more time children spend in school, the more they will learn. Detractors however have warned that an early emphasis on academic learning, at the expense of play time, could harm children emotionally and academically in the long run.

Lets face it we constantly hear how “Millennials ” are the most over educated and under performing generation. Spending there days watching reality TV ,playing video games and questioning why they have to work at all. They are buried under a pile of student loans with degrees in under water basket weaving .So it would seem at lest for Millennials”  more time in school has not worked at all.

This all brings us back to the quality over quantity argument  and clearly for many “Millennials ”   its been as the saying goes ;garbage in ,garbage out.

While many studies show academic gains for full day Kindergarten can be fleeting , others show significant gains for disadvantaged children particularly ,’English is a second language  types .

A new study from Chloe R. Gibbs at the University of Virginia holds some preliminary good news for proponents of full-day kindergarten.Though the implications of the study won’t be clear until the students studied are much older. The Gibbs study showed most notably, the advantage for Hispanic full-day students over other Hispanic kindergartners is nearly twice that seen in the overall sample.

Other studies have suggested that children in full-day programs scored higher in reading and math than their half-day counterparts at the end of kindergarten, those gains had evaporated by the end of 1st grade, the researcher reports. This was true for both girls and boys and black and Hispanic children. In fact, Hispanic children who attended full-day kindergarten programs performed worse at the end of 1st grade than children who attended half-day kindergarten.

An interesting note in the Gibbs study and this very much applies to Ridgewood ; Because full-day kindergarten classes have long been used as a way to give high-need students an extra boost, full-day students have historically been comparatively disadvantaged. As a result, any difference in the groups’ outcomes may be due to full-day kindergarten or may be caused by other differences in their lives outside the classroom — such as disparities in access to learning opportunities and academic support at home — typically associated with living in poverty.

Which gets to the heart of our point in a Village like Ridgewood with a huge diversity of opportunities for learning ,friends, doing ,playing and experiencing . Our fear is the full-day kindergarten will actually decrease the diversity of opportunities for some people and again that one sided points of views will be pushed even further stunting creativity and intellectual curiosity .

We have no way of knowing, unfortunately only time will tell , but as many promoters of school budgets in that past have issued the battle cry ; “do it fir da kidz”. So what ever you decide on November 8th the decision should be should be made based on whats best for your kids or your grand childern. You know your kids better than anyone and they probably need you more than you think .

14 thoughts on “Ridgewood the great debate ;Full-day vs Half-day Kindergarten: “do it fir da kidz”

  1. No new taxes – not for this, not for anything. If the BOE or any Village department can’t make it work within their existing budget, the answer should be NO. Enough is enough.

  2. Vote NO!

  3. Vote Yes! $111/ year is barely a tax increase (aside from the fact that taxes go up every year regardless). It’s truly disheartening to hear such rude comments from fellow citizens claiming this is a glorified daycare program coming out of tax payers money. Let’s think about the future of our children and our community.

  4. Yes, vote no, the future of our children is at stake. They need unstructured time at home, not with a teacher looking over their shoulder in so -called free time. Kids need to develop a sense of themselves. They can’t with a teacher staring at them all the time and subtly or obtrusively, obviously giving approval or disapproval to their actions. Freedom to think and feel on one’s own is needed. Then true self reliance develops. A true sense of self apart from the crowd with all that implies for imagination and creativity. Without that sense of self, people are easy victims to sales pitches and more when they are older. Do I have to spell it out.

  5. Children need a year to ease into an academic environment. Not everybody goes to daycare. In any case I am voting no.

  6. I’m a no for the reasons 4:12 cites. That and the evidence that our socio-economic cohort gains nothing from full-day Kindergarten. I was a working parent who had to pay for enrichment on days I worked. If you want to have free time for yourselves, pay for it. And I am thinking about the future of our children and our community. Let kids be kids and learn to grow on their own. I don’t see how this is only going to cost $112/household; it doesn’t make any sense with the salaries and benefits of 7 additional teachers+aides+supplies, etc. I can’t afford more taxes.

  7. I don’t think the future of Ridgewood children is going to be seriously impacted by 3 extra hours of school a day. I think we should vote this through for working mothers who need this. When commenters here say that kids need unstructured time at home, the expectation is that mothers will be there to take care of them… so outdated. This seems like a very small cost to achieve something good for the community.

  8. I hate articles that talk about “millennials” like everyone in the same generation is the same. Also this talk is offensive to a large group of people — Overeducated and underperforming? “Garbage in, garbage out,” — really? Everyone born between 1980-2000 is garbage?

  9. Yikes, at 5:21. I am all for subsidized childcare, in office daycares, or any other creative solution to help working moms and dads. But by your logic, aren’t we overpaying for daycare? Can just do a much cheaper aftercare if that is your issue. Also, should school be open on weekends because some of us work then? Summer?

  10. Full day would actually be more age appropriate than the current 2.5 hour intensive all-work and no down time schedule that Kindergarteners have now. It would allow teachers to pace the day in a much more reasonable way for 5 year olds.

  11. Here is my biggest concern with the proposed all day kindergarten. Although conceptually there are pluses, I question whether we can afford it. And I think one of the biggest reasons we won’t be able to afford it has to do with the hundreds of apartments that are being built downtown. These apartments will be marketed to those with two income earners and young families. Our schools are going to be one of the largest drivers of families to those units. I question whether we will be able to afford the influx of new elementary age students as it is, and that problem will be compounded if we have to double the number of kindergarten seats both for existing children and new children. I worry that we are going to need to construct new classrooms at our elementary schools – – and I am not sure that cost has been factored into the equation. I simply haven’t seen enough to convince me that the $110 tax increase is going to cover the costs of new residents from the multifamily housing units. Particularly if we have to build new classrooms to accommodate these new students, then the $110 number may be multiplied very quickly.

    We keep proposing to add more and more to our town without thinking through how each addition takes away from the whole. Those pushing for all day kindergarten need to also get involved in other aspects of our town as well so they can view and work towards making sure things remain in balance. It may be a great idea, but does it fit with the needs and budget of the town as a whole? If we are going to keep adding hundreds of new residents, will we be able to afford ideas such as all day kindergarten and are we going to need to cut back on other Village and school services in order to balance our budget?

  12. Pay for your own daycare. I see the village littered with lawn signs to vote yes….on th lawns of the newbies .

  13. the saddest comment on here is that mothers staying home to raise and be there for their kids is “outdated”. Why are you having them then? sad

  14. I believe the “Pay for your own daycare” is even more insulting/ignorant…also referring to families with young children as “newbies”!

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