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The impact of full day and half day kindergarten on children in the united states

Ontario made a bold public policy move in September 2010 when full-day learning was made available to all four- and five-year-old children in the province โ€” via a unique two-year, full-day kindergarten program.

  1. Thankfully, most moms and dads realize that for little kids, an hour or so is more than enough for most activities and any longer will only result in your child loathing the sport or hobby you hoped they would love.
  2. Ontario is unique in offering universal FDK for four year olds, although the Northwest Territories and Nova Scotia have plans to follow suit.
  3. The results from the Head Start Impact Study Final Report show that "no significant impacts were found for math skills, prewriting, children's promotion, or teacher report of children's school accomplishments or abilities.

This investment by one province in an innovative play-based kindergarten program seems to be paying off. Children in this program scored higher on reading, writing and number knowledge than those in a half-day program and remained ahead until the end of Grade 2. Self-regulation in early childhood is especially important. Existing research shows that self-control, an aspect of self-regulation, predicts long-term health, wealth and even a reduction in crime.

Author provided Our research data speak to public policy and to the mixed findings in education about the long-term effects of early childhood programs. What is unique about the Ontario model?

  1. A child who loves school will likely fare better in the long run than a child who dreads going to school. Children in this program scored higher on reading, writing and number knowledge than those in a half-day program and remained ahead until the end of Grade 2.
  2. Yet FDK children actually performed better in those activities. FDK children also had higher vocabulary scores to Grade 2 although this effect was statistically significant only for children who spoke English as a first language.
  3. I want them to be passionate about their favourite subjects and I want them to look forward to going to school.
  4. A 2010 peer reviewed study from Duke University shows that any benefits from attending full-day kindergarten "disappeared" by Grade 3.

The rest of the provinces and territories offer part-day kindergarten. Ontario is unique in offering universal FDK for four year olds, although the Northwest Territories and Nova Scotia have plans to follow suit. The Ontario FDK program not only doubles the time of half-day programs. A few school boards in Ontario provide integrated seamless care and education from 7 a.

Author provided The impact on parents, schools and children? What would their experiences be in kindergarten and, importantly, what would be the longitudinal effects on their educational success and well-being as they progressed through school? How would we capture the voices of the children?

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Author provided We asked how new staff teams of early childhood educators and teacherswith different education, training and experiences, would come together to facilitate full-day classes of four and five year olds following a new play-based mandate. We wanted to know how a full-day program would support parentsin particular parents who were working and needing both care and education for their children.

  • This piece originally appeared in The Hamilton Spectator;
  • And this doesn't even take into account the before and after school programs.

These became the guiding questions for our research. This phasing-in created a natural experiment in which children in FDK could be compared with children in half-day kindergarten HDK who attended schools in similar neighbourhoods. The initial phase of the FDK research with 592 children concluded in Grade 2, with Grade 3 provincial test scores available for some of the children.

  • Lydia Lovric is a former opinion writer and broadcaster, turned stay-at-home mom;
  • Furthermore, "children may not have as positive an attitude toward school in full-day versus half-day kindergarten and may experience more behaviour problems;
  • Provincial test results were consistent with our direct measures โ€” FDK children were more likely to meet provincial academic expectations in Grade 3;
  • We found similar results for reading, writing and number knowledge.

The second phase of the study is ongoing as our children progress to Grade 6. We asked children to draw a picture about school each year and we analyzed the drawings for complexity and for themes.

And we found some clear benefits. FDK children scored higher than HDK children in self-regulation in kindergarten and remained ahead until the end of Grade 2. We found similar results for reading, writing and number knowledge.

  • This investment by one province in an innovative play-based kindergarten program seems to be paying off;
  • HDK children reported that learning activities are most important.

FDK children also had higher vocabulary scores to Grade 2 although this effect was statistically significant only for children who spoke English as a first language.

Provincial test results were consistent with our direct measures โ€” FDK children were more likely to meet provincial academic expectations in Grade 3. Interviews showed the same results. Interestingly FDK children reported more often that play is important.

HDK children reported that learning activities are most important. Yet FDK children actually performed better in those activities. These findings are consistent with our direct measures with the children.

Full-Day Kindergarten Is Better For Parents Than Kids

Can these results be applied elsewhere? The schools in our study are representative of many other urban and suburban regions of the province characterized by high levels of immigration and many English language learners, making these results applicable to other provinces and territories with similar demographics.

The positive results from this region in Ontario suggest broader payoff for investments in early learning across Canada and beyond.