How Long is Too Long for Kindergarten?

My baby begins kindergarten in the fall. Half-day kindergarten.

For roughly four hours or so each day, my loquacious daughter will be chatting the ears off of some woman, who probably looks nothing like me, and a gaggle of kids who probably act just like her.

Four hours. I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself. NOT! (Can you say three jobs and a never-ending battle with dirty clothes, the dishwasher and dust bunnies?)

Still, when I think of how long kids in one Canadian province might have to spend in kindergarten, I’m liking the sound of four hours more and more.

According to reports, if lawmakers get their way, students as young as four years old would be inside a school building (save for recesses) for almost 11 hours per day. Legislators essentially want to combine kindergarten with daycare. If the proposal passes, kids would enter a school building at 7:30 a.m. and not go home until 6 p.m.

The plan focuses primarily on four- and five-year-olds by extending the kindergarten program from the early morning to the early evening. Proponents of the move say the new program would keep kids out of daycare centers, thereby saving parents a lot of money. In addition, those in favor of the program say it would eliminate the need to shuffle children around during the day from a daycare facility in the morning to school, and then back to daycare or to another type of after school program.

Eleven hours for a four year old to be anywhere is A LOT. I can’t imagine sending my child to school/daycare for 11 hours straight. However, I can see why some parents, who work outside the home for 9-11 hours a day, see the program as a saving grace.

Seriously, though, is this combined service too much, too soon for kids their age?

And what of the curriculum? What could you possibly do to hold a four-year-old’s attention for 11 hours (taking in account lunch, recess and naptime)?

What are your feelings about this type of “schooling?”

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.