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Full-Day Kindergarten: Too Much? Or, Just Right?

Published on: December 30, 2013

My son starts Kindergarten in three days. He will make the leap from his pre-K program, which was 2-and-a-half hours per day to a full, 6-hour day.

Last winter, when my husband and I were touring Seattle's public schools, we were surprised to learn that, while 1/2-day Kindergarten was an option, full-day K was strongly encouraged.

"They miss so much school if they leave at lunch time," said the Kindergarten teacher who will, coincidentally, be our son's.

Why full day? My husband and I asked ourselves. It's just Kindergarten.

We seriously considered picking him up at 11ish, at least for the first few months, so he could ease into Big-School life.

But the pressure was astounding: Everyone else is doing full day. He'll be set apart, different, if we choose to pull him out after a mere two hours of school. He'll miss all the fun stuff. The music and art. He'll want to stay with his friends. He's been home for five years; he's ready.

So we capitulated. Starting Wednesday, in 60 hours from now, he'll be in school five days a week, six hours a day. I fear the emotional toll this adjustment will take. And I'm hoping beyond hope that we're doing the right thing.

What do you think? Is full-day Kindergarten too much for a five-year-old? Or just right?

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