Full-day K focus of forum

2
64

Krystyn Eggleton, left, a kindergarten teacher at Frisbie Elementary School in Wolcott, speaks during a forum on full-day kindergarten Nov. 20 at Woodland Regional High School. Eggleton was part of a panel put together by Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, to discuss switching to full-day kindergarten. –LUKE MARSHALL
Krystyn Eggleton, left, a kindergarten teacher at Frisbie Elementary School in Wolcott, speaks during a forum on full-day kindergarten Nov. 20 at Woodland Regional High School. Eggleton was part of a panel put together by Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, to discuss switching to full-day kindergarten. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — Parents, teachers and community members from Region 16 came together last week to hear about full-day kindergarten.

The Region 16 Board of Education, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, is considering implementing full-day kindergarten in the 2015-16 school year at Laurel Ledge Elementary School and the new Prospect Elementary School.

The district hosted a forum Nov. 20 on the topic featuring a panel of educators and a parent from school districts that have recently made the switch.

A common theme from members of the panel was full-day kindergarten offers the opportunity to do more with students.

Krystyn Eggleton, a kindergarten teacher at Frisbie Elementary School in Wolcott, said with full-day kindergarten she has time to work with students one on one if they have problems.

“If I see anybody struggling … I have extra time to take to work with that child and spend a little bit of time so that he or she can now get it, then move on and go back with the group,” Eggleton said. “I think we have a little more freedom to totally meet the needs of those children.”

Eggleton said the full-day program also allows her to take her students to a senior housing building to plant flowers in their garden.

“It seems everyday I can run with an idea that somebody might have or somebody might be interested in,” Eggleton said.

Nancy King, a Beacon Falls resident and kindergarten teacher at Pomperaug Elementary School in Southbury, echoed Eggleton’s comments. She said the switch to full day has given her much more time to work with students.

“We were learning about turkeys this week and they got very, very excited and wanted to learn more about wild turkeys. So, in a half day program, I would say, ‘That’s all we can learn about turkeys right now because we have to move on to our next thing.’ But we have the time to explore the children’s interests,” King said.

Rachel Van Ness, a parent of two children in Pomperaug Elementary School, had one child go through the half-day program and one go through the full-day program. She noticed the difference.

The full-day program allows for longer days and the ability to teach at a slower pace, Van Ness said. She added teachers didn’t need to rely on parents to volunteer as “room parents” as much when her children’s school made the switch.

If the change is made, kindergarten classes in Region 16 would follow the same schedule as all other elementary school students. This means students would start school at 8:45 a.m. and leave at 3:15 p.m.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin said the final numbers on the costs of implementing a full-day kindergarten program isn’t known yet. He estimated it would cost an additional $325,000 to $350,000 a year.

Yamin added that due to expected savings from decreased enrollment, reallocation of staff and decreased bus routes, the cost of full-day kindergarten could be offset in the 2015-16 budget.

The Region 16 school board has been discussing going to full-day kindergarten for several years. Those talks ramped up when the three-part building project was approved in 2011.

Earlier this year a full-day kindergarten planning team was put together to develop curriculum, plan professional development for teachers, determine the financial impact of full-day kindergarten and figure out how to arrange classrooms to make room for the additional classes. If everything goes has planned a decision is set to be made early next year.

Yamin said it is important that administrators be ready to provide facts to the Board of Education.

“It is important to be prepared with a full-day kindergarten program so that we can propose when the time is right. We have to have done the research. Now we have begun that process. We need to study the benefits, we need to report the results back to the community, and, when the time is right and we have sufficient support to do so, we need to look to the Board of Education, parents and families for the leadership that is critical to obtain appropriate resources for the full-day kindergarten program,” Yamin said.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Q. Is the push nationally to switch our schools to all-day kindergarten paying off academically for our kids? Or is it just about funneling more money into schools, getting more people employed in our schools, and giving parents free day-care at taxpayer expense?

    It appears to be the latter. Academic gains by children in full-day kindergartens are modest, compared to those in half-day programs. Moreover, those gains diminish to insignificant levels by first grade, and completely disappear by third grade in a phenomenon called “fadeout.”

    for the full story………

    http://www.showandtellforparents.com/wfdata/frame155-1001/pressrel59.asp

  2. On paper it all sounds good, but that seems like a long day for kids that age. The only benefit I see is parents would not pay for individual child care and the rest of us would pick up the extra cost in higher taxes. Of course the BOE supports it, it enables future opportunities for current Region 16 employees. Let’s continue to put the raising of our children in the hands of the system. I for one stand opposed to this proposal, but I was not asked to vote on the issue.