Facts about Full-Day KindergartenWe are excited to have full-day kindergarten program in all Springfield elementary schools this year!
In kindergarten, children develop skills that they need to be successful as they enter first grade and continue through school. Having a full day of school allows children to develop early reading and math skills, social skills, and have lots of time for fun and play. It also gives teachers more time to get to know your student and address any challenges that might arise.Full-day kindergarten helps level the playing field for all students and gives everyone a stronger foundation for success throughout their education.What does this mean for families?As of fall 2015, Springfield kinders have the same start and end time as the rest of the elementary school.What does the beginning of the school year look like?To make sure that kinders have the best possible start to their school career, kinders start school on a staggered schedule.This means that for the first three days of school, your child will only attend one of these days. Only a portion of the students will come to school each day, until all students have attended. Then, all students will come together as a class the following Monday.Parent letters and post cards will be mailed during the summer that will provide details regarding the staggered start schedule and which day your child will be attending school during the first week.What will my child be learning?Children will be building early reading and writing skills; developing an understanding of math concepts and problem-solving through hands-on activities; experiencing expanded opportunities in science, social studies, art, music, library, PE, technology, and structured play; and developing good school habits and social skills. The goal is for children to have a fun, engaging experience that will foster a lifelong love of learning.Won't this be a long day for the little ones?During the day, children will have a balance of active and restful activities. Teachers will help develop student stamina by pacing activities differently in the fall compared to the spring. You can help by talking about school in a positive and upbeat way and by making sure your child gets enough rest and eats healthy food at home.How can I help my child prepare?Great question! We've developed some materials to answer some common questions and help families get ready to send their kids off to school in the fall. You can click here to see an overview page with links to online resources, or you can view an interactive online version of the full Parent's Guide to Kindergarten. You can also pick up a hard copy at your child's school. Copies will also be available during the schools' welcome and registration events in the spring. Haga clic aquí para la Guía de kindergarten para padres en español.
Although Springfield has not had full-day kindergarten in the past, research conducted in other school districts shows full-day kindergarten can benefit students in the following ways:
In the past, schools only received half of the state funding for kindergartners that they did for other students. This reduced funding for kindergartners made it financially difficult for most districts to offer a full-day program without passing some of the cost on to families.
- Students in full-day kindergarten classes show greater reading and mathematics achievement gains than those in half-day classes – and those gains can stay with them through later grades.
- Students in full-day kindergarten classes tend to do better with the transition to first grade – they show significant gains in school socialization, such as understanding appropriate behavior and interacting with other children.
- Teachers have the opportunity to get to know students better and address their learning challenges early – helping get and keep them on track.
- The earlier students’ learning challenges are addressed, the less remediation is needed in future years – cost savings that can be used to provide other learning opportunities.
What has Springfield been doing to get ready for full-day kindergarten?
To get ready for full-day kindergarten the district formed a planning committee that includes teachers, principals, and more. The committee has been meeting regularly Springfield’s full-day kindergarten curriculum.
Committee members agree upon these values for Springfield’s program, with a focus on the whole child:
Teachers report back to site-based committees at each school who are working on detailed plans for implementation. These committees include first-grade teachers, whose curriculum will also be affected, as well as learning specialists and parents. Schools are also considering the physical aspects of the change, including furniture acquisition, needed supplies and the logistics of scheduling with more kinders on site all day.What about the schools that need more classroom space?Several elementary schools will be receiving expansions to accommodate full-day kindergarten thanks to the 2014 bond measure (Ridgeview, Riverbend, Maple, Mt. Vernon and Yolanda). The District is meeting with the original building architects and expects to move forward with plans for construction as quickly as possible. Because the additions are scheduled to be completed in January 2016 at the earliest, schools may have to make temporary adjustments at the beginning of the school year. Bond project progress can be followed at www.springfield.k12.or.us/bond.
- Young children learn best through discovery, exploration and active learning, including structured and unstructured play.
- How students learn is as important as what they learn.
- The kindergarten environment must support a natural approach to learning where children are encouraged to ask questions, think, choose, analyze, interact, problem solve and take risks.
- The kindergarten environment must ensure inclusive practices and provide equitable opportunities for all students.