In November 2007, our local board of education outlined its intention to standardize all-day kindergarten instruction across the district beginning with the 2008-2009 school year. According to the board, their enthusiasm is buoyed by a successful pilot program which has been running within the district, as well as research which supports the notion that all-day kindergarten enhances 九龍城幼兒園 a student’s self-confidence and independence, leading to higher progress in social and learning skills.
The move represents a significant departure from the traditional half day kindergarten routine (which, in actuality, is not even a half day), which was intended to provide youngsters with an introduction to their elementary years and where they could engage in a few hours of social interaction. That being said, a significant percentage of districts both state-wide and nationally have embraced all-day kindergarten. And certainly we’ve all heard about Saturday school and other examples of academic rigor placed upon young students abroad, particularly in the Far East. It is worth noting that this practice is alive and well the community where I live, within certain ethnic communities through their civic and religious centers.
Thus arguments are frequently heard regarding the necessity of “starting earlier” and “working harder” so that our students can simply remain competitive in the global landscape. But is asking a five year old to spend thirty hours a week at school too much to ask of them? We examine both sides of the issue.
On the positive side, the primary overarching intention of all-day kindergarten is to better prepare students to succeed. The definition of success is clearly in the eye of the beholder: an enhancement of learning capabilities, an increased score on some future standardized exam, or the ability to more effectively socialize with peers. Whatever the definition, there is certainly a body of academic research which supports the claim that today’s five year olds are mentally able to endure the additional classroom time and derive a lasting benefit from it. And there are parents who have put their kids through all-day kindergarten who will heartily vouch for the benefits it provided.
Furthermore, it is certainly true that children from some families where a certain degree of nurturing is not available will actually benefit more, socially and psychologically, from additional time in the classroom where age appropriate stimulus is available. For these students, more time at home may just result in more television, more video games, or in some cases more neglect.
And, as alluded to earlier, we are a nation which is becoming a net outsourcer of skilled labor. Countless thousands of American jobs have been shipped overseas to harder working and better trained workforces who are able to provide more value for less money. If the U.S. hopes to maintain its status in the global marketplace, then we must impart academic rigor on our youth as often-and in this case as early-as possible.