Is 4 Too Young for Full-Day Kindergarten?

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Apparently, I blinked. And suddenly, my sixth child will be starting Junior Kindergarten in September.

Six kids in elementary school. There was a time I never thought I’d see the day, and now I feel like I don’t want to see the day.

My other five children attended kindergarten for half days every day. It suited us perfectly. We established a nice daily routine. On the days I worked, Nanny Hazel was there for them, so I never had daycare issues or logistics to juggle.

Next year, our school is providing full day kindergarten – every single day. I’m just not sure how I feel about this.

My teacher friends assure me that it’s play-based and kid-directed. Children move at individual levels and are free to let their own interests guide their learning.

But then I’m left wondering:

  • If I don’t have to send my kid, should he go? He’ll be in the “system” for a heck of a long time. Do I need my four-year old to be gone all day, every day?

 

  • If I don’t send him, is he going to somehow fall behind or not be as stimulated as the other children?

 

Look at how things are done in Finland. Finnish kids start school at 7-years old, get 75 minutes of recess a day and don’t have exams or homework until they are teens. Yet Finland’s schools get top ranking for international education systems.

Then sometimes I think that I’m just in denial that my baby is growing up. When you’ve had babies at home as long as I have, it feels just plain weird to think about an empty house with no more daytime play dates, walks, or Mommy and Me gymnastics.

So, what do you think? Full-day kindergarten – yes or no?

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