Q: Can my child attend full-day kindergarten for half-days?
With the introduction of full-day kindergarten, some parents have raised concerns about the length of time their young children will be in school. Here are a few things that may be helpful to parents who are worried:
- both Junior and Senior kindergarten are optional programs. Children in Ontario are not legally required to start school until age 6. So if you feel your child is not quite ready for school, you do not have to register for kindergarten.
- the full-day kindergarten program has been specifically designed to meet the needs of young children – that is why an Early Childhood Educator is part of the teaching team. The program is play-based, and there are quiet times built in to the day.
While you can choose to send your child for a half-day, the school will discourage this, as there are some challenges:
- because the program is designed for full-day participation, your child may miss important and/or fun parts of the day. For example, if the class does music or gym in the afternoon, children who only attend in the morning will miss out on that part of the curriculum.
- your child may wonder why the other children stay at school all day, but s/he does not. For some children, this may make them feel left out, or that they are missing something.
If you feel strongly that a half-day program is more appropriate for your child, you can discuss this with the principal and kindergarten teacher to see if there is a way to make it work for everyone involved.