Full-day kindergarten will give Maryland children more time for learning, but less for play, reports the Baltimore Sun.
In a corner of her room at Manor View Elementary on Fort Meade, kindergarten teacher Laura Hobbs neatly arranged a little kitchen set, dolls, a small bed and play-food. She likes watching her students pretend, but she worries they’ll be strapped for play time given the long list of academic requirements for the school year that begins this week.
She has only nine months to get her 5- and 6-year-olds to identify the sequential property of numbers using the calendar, learn the alphabet, recognize letter sounds, learn how to sort by color and number, and learn to share and play nice with one another.
On Early Stories, Richard Colvin thinks the “academic requirements” aren’t really that rigorous.
Isn’t this what kindergarten has always been about? Learning to count, sort, start to read and play nice? This is overly academic? This is stuffing kids’ heads with facts? These are exactly the domains and expectations in good pre-k programs and, because most of these kids will have been in pre-k, they’ve probably mastered or are very close to mastery of them all. The other idea in here that always bothers me is that, because there is the potential that a teacher, school, or district will make developmentally unwise choices, they shouldn’t be given the opportunity to make such a mistake.
Disadvantaged children benefit most from more time for learning. Surely, adding more than three hours to their school day will provide time for letters, numbers and playing dress up.
A majority of schools now offer full-day kindergarten classes.