All-day Kindergarten For Minnesota Kids
When Minnesota made all-day kindergarten a free option for the 2014-15 school year, more than 57,000 students enrolled. Parents of 99% of all students chose the all-day option.
During the 2013-14 school year, just 54% of kindergarteners went to school all day. The big difference is that all day kindergarten is now free; parents had to pay as much as $4,000 in previous years.
A teacher with 43 years of experience says that this year’s kindergarten class is ahead of any she’s had in the past. She says, “They started out not knowing letters or sounds” and “[t]hey are now reading simple two- and three-word sentences.”
This has caused schools to change their first-grade curriculum because children are being taught to read earlier. (CBSlocal.com, 3-16-15)
Critics of all-day kindergarten that stresses reading and math, rather than play and art, worry that students will suffer. Play time for young children is deemed critical for the development of creativity and ingenuity.
Those in charge of education policy must pay attention to the developmental inappropriateness of young children spending long days at school focusing on academics. While spending all day in kindergarten class may seem like a good idea to parents who need childcare, it may not be in their children’s best interest because it is not age-appropriate.