Archive for Sunday, July 22, 2007

Schools have high hopes for ‘all-day K’

300 students at eight schools to participate in daylong kindergarten

Ben Hoopes, 5, foreground right, will attend all-day kindergarten at Cordley this fall. Hoopes is joined by his parents Linda and Brad Hoopes and his sister Annelise, 3, on the Cordley school playground. Hoopes will be one of more than 300 students in Lawrence public schools involved in the return of all-day kindergarten to the district at Cordley and seven other schools.

Ben Hoopes, 5, foreground right, will attend all-day kindergarten at Cordley this fall. Hoopes is joined by his parents Linda and Brad Hoopes and his sister Annelise, 3, on the Cordley school playground. Hoopes will be one of more than 300 students in Lawrence public schools involved in the return of all-day kindergarten to the district at Cordley and seven other schools.

July 22, 2007


Kim Bodensteiner, Chief Academic Officer for Lawrence public schools, talks about preparations for all-day kindergarten classes at eight schools this fall.

Kim Bodensteiner, Chief Academic Officer for Lawrence public schools, talks about preparations for all-day kindergarten classes at eight schools this fall.

Ben Hoopes, 5, felt a lot better when he learned his school day's exact length.

"He thought it was morning, afternoon and evening," said his mother, Linda Hoopes.

But once he found out his class time at Cordley School will end in the afternoon beginning this fall, Ben showed enthusiasm.

He will be one of more than 300 students in Lawrence involved in the return of all-day kindergarten to eight of the district's public schools.

Thanks to about $600,000 in funding from the state, district leaders targeted eight schools based on needs demonstrated by assessment test scores and populations of students who receive free and reduced-price lunches. Administrators have indicated they hope to eventually expand it to all schools.

"We think there's an academic benefit as well as a social benefit for children," said Kim Bodensteiner, the district's chief academic officer.

The district offered all-day kindergarten at several schools from 1998 to 2001 but cut it because of budget constraints.

Bodensteiner said with more mandates put on student achievement, having a longer kindergarten school day allows students to get more exposure to math, language arts and other activities. It's also expected to benefit children from low-income families, English as a second language students and those who work with specialists.

For half-day kindergarten, "it was just really hard to get all of that into a few hours in the morning," she said.

"There's more continuity in the teaching and learning for kids," said Kim Gamble, who will teach the all-day class at New York School. "There's a lot more time for in-depth exploration of things. Before, we were always rushing things to get through them."

But administrators expect, like the beginning of any school year, it will require some adjustment for parents and students.

"There's still a pit in my heart. I don't really want my son to go," said Hoopes, Ben's mother.

Hoopes said the family worries about Ben losing some unstructured time at a young age. She is a social worker who spends part of her day at home, and her husband, Brad, teaches piano lessons from home.

The family thought hard about the district's option to have students attend for only a half day at a full-day school, but they believed it would put Ben at a disadvantage.

Bodensteiner said only a couple of parents at each school appear to be considering the half-day option. She also said it looked unlikely based on class size that any students will be able to transfer into a full-day kindergarten from a school that offers only half-day.

Shanon Flowers, a co-program director at Sunshine Acres Montessori Center, 2141 Maple Lane, said the center has restructured its program and scaled back its private kindergarten. The center is in the area near three schools - Prairie Park, Cordley and Kennedy - that will have full-day kindergarten classes.

"Because we are more of a preschool, I really don't think it's going to affect us. We've regrouped, and it's not going to be that bad," Flowers said.

Last year, Sunshine Acres had a class of 24 kindergartners. The center serves 100 children and still will have more than 20 employees, she said.

Flowers said as a parent, she was excited about public all-day kindergarten, but one concern for her was how parents could handle after-school care during the time from the end of school until a work day's end. Bodensteiner said some after-school programs may see more kindergartners who would normally attend a morning class and then go to a day care.

Hoopes and Gamble, the New York School teacher, said parents who have had children in day care during the day appear to be the most enthusiastic about full-day classes.

"For parents, some of the positives for many of them is they are not going to have to make those arrangements about having to get children picked up in the middle of a workday and get them transported somewhere else," Bodensteiner said.

Of the 18 full-day kindergarten teachers, six were newly hired to the district, two teachers transferred from teaching other grades in Lawrence schools, and 10 others taught kindergarten last year. The only major change for teachers is they will spend all day with one class instead of splitting mornings and afternoons between two groups.


Dixie Jones 10 years, 6 months ago

wow kshats went all day to school,, cant tell it by the spelling skills,,,mad mike im still laughing about your post and marion... you rock!

Staci Dark Simpson 10 years, 6 months ago

Ugh! Kids need to be kids. They grow up fast already. I think all day kindergarten is too much. As a preschool age teacher I have noticed that the kids are ready for a break about noon. They can still learn in their environment at home. But I guess it is a cheap way to get all day babysitting if you are a working parent.

Tanetti 10 years, 6 months ago

As the parent of an almost 3-year-old, I'm thrilled that our school will have all-day kindergarten. I only hope it's still active when he's ready for school in fall 2010 and when his brother goes in 2011 (wow, that seems far off!). Considering how much kids are expected to learn in later years, they need all the help they can get, and at that age they are thirsty for knowledge and social interaction. I would assume the kids have some sort of quiet time after lunch; it's not as if kindergarten teachers are ignorant of 5- and 6-year-olds' needs/capabilities.

Stephen Prue 10 years, 6 months ago

my daughter in law home schools my grandsons, both were reading before they would have entered kindergarten and have higher math skills. they get to kids, have lots of social activities. their parents have a lifestyle which does not require two incomes and my grandsons are the better for it. oh, it isn't a religious thing for them it's a quality of education thing and freedom of choice thing . it is sad our society demands that both parents work outside the home to have a "successful" life (more money) while their children receive more quality time from non-family members then their parents. if its all about the kids why are so many parents putting themselves first?

Tanetti 10 years, 6 months ago

As a result of said children crawling all over me as I type, I forgot to mention that as a parent, I would be furious if one of my kids' teachers/care providers had Staci's opinion of parents who are interested in helping their kids get the best start possible. I'd venture a guess that Staci herself isn't a parent yet, though I can tell you that my friends who were teachers/day care workers before becoming parents were quite opinionated (bordering on judgmental) about everything kid-related -- until they had their own and saw parenting in a whole new light. As far as it being "cheap child care," all-day kindergarten is only a half-day longer than "normal" K, so that means a parent would be paying only half a day of child care for a 5- or 6-year-old. Compared with the cost of putting an infant or even a toddler in day care, that's cheap with a capital C. To put my toddler and preschooler in child care now, it would cost upward of $1,000/month full time (more than 2/3 of my take-home pay while I was working and paying for child care), which is why I stay home with them and freelance in the few free hours I have each week. By the time they're 4 and 5, the cost would be considerably lower, to probably half that. In my opinion, anyone who views all-day K as "cheap child care" has zero perspective on the actual cost of child care -- as well as on parents' motives in deciding what's best for their children.

Kat Christian 10 years, 6 months ago

It is a shame we even have daycare at all. A child should be able to stay home with a parent until they begin school. I was lucky that I didn't have to work until my youngest began Kindergarten which was all day. They seemed to do well with that. I think kids are ready for it. Plus they love to learn and discover new things. The schools in Lawrence have good programs, they know what they're doing and kids are more resilient then you think. It's too bad kids have to go to daycare even in the summer months, instead being able to sleep in then play and explore in their summer days. As my 6 year old says it's just like going to school all year around. So in a way they really don't get a break.

Ragingbear 10 years, 6 months ago

Isn't school just a form of nanny that the parents get so they don't have to do anything? They definitely aren't learning much after the first 3 years anyways.

Don't believe me? Ask a teenager to give you a book report they had written by hand. If you can somehow find one, you will find it almost entirely unreadable.

Mr_B9 10 years, 6 months ago

Once again the progressives are moving forward indoctrinating our young . The state has put up 600K for all day Kindergarten. Why? Due to the fact that schools in the state are always in need for more money it appears to me this funding should be spent on the existing foundation. Children do need the best education possible, however, going an extra half day to Kindergarten will not make them more educated. Put the money where it will do the most good.

Mandie Eutsler 10 years, 6 months ago

i was pretty thrilled at first. however my son, who has a iep with lawrence public schools for speech therapy, won't get to go to all day. apparently there wasn't enough room to transfer him to one of the schools offering the all day. i was under the impression the funding came through for "at-risk" children. shouldn't those kids with learning handicaps get first chance at transfers if the school?

Mandie Eutsler 10 years, 6 months ago comment was cut off. the school in our district isn't one of the schools offering all day kindergarten. he didn't start talking until he was almost 4. needless to say he is a little behind his peers. if he only goes to school 4 hours a day, at least 1/3 of that time will be spent away from class working on the things he needs to keep up. that means he will most likely end up missing out on the fun things that go on in class.

lawrencechick 10 years, 6 months ago

Speech therapy classifies you as "handicapped" now?

Laurie L Folsom 10 years, 6 months ago

"Isn't school just a form of nanny...?" Have we, as Americans, become so spoiled by our rights and freedoms that we describe the one great equalizer in our democracy as a nanny service? Ask a child in a third world country if and education is a form of babysitting. I believe they would say whatever we call it, they want it. "Kids need to be kids." Early childhood educators are aware of this and provide a different kind of environment in All Day Ks than in the typical 5th grade classroom. Learning through exploring is usually what is going on.

Laurie L Folsom 10 years, 6 months ago

"Shouldn't those kids with learning handicaps get first chance at transfers...?" Not necessarily. Classrooms should have as balanced a population between regular education and special needs as possible. Watch the progress of the All Day Ks and be a vocal advocate for expanding the program. Not just when your child is attending Kindergarten. Before this opportunity your child would still have had only 4 hrs. The district is embarking on improving education. Support that endeavor for all children.

Laurie L Folsom 10 years, 6 months ago

"Once again the progressives are moving forward indoctrinating our young..." Why is it there are some people out there who seem to know EVERYTHING? I am a college graduate with an advanced degree, but I still don't know everything there is to being a parent let alone educating my elementary age children. Our family has learned so much from the PAT program, read as much as possible, and seeking advice from our pediatrician and fellow parents. Once again conservatives (who often times profess to be the most patriotic Americans) are advocating citizens pull away from the best American institutions, home school, rather than become active advocates for ALL children by volunteering at schools, joining the school board, or becoming a mentor. Education in the 1700s & 1800s focused on those who have the knowledge and money educating their own to the exclusion of anyone else. The result was a chasm between those who had and those who didn't. Do we want to return to those times? My hat is off to those elementary teachers who pull together the energy to educate a classroom of diverse children and their needs. My frustration is with those who educate only 1-3 children from the same environment and profess to know more than the career educators.

SAHM2tylrnathan 10 years, 6 months ago

"Handicapped" is not the same as "at-risk." At-risk kids can have physical, emotional, or environmental factors that can slow their success in school. "Poor" kids are at risk (that's why they have free and reduced-cost lunch--it's hard to learn on an empty stomach). Kids who talk, walk or write with difficulty are at risk. If the school system can find these kids when they are still a year or more away from kindergarten, they can provide help and early intervention that will give the kids a better chance of having a successful school experience, even if that help has to continue through some of their school years.

I have a son starting all-day K in a rural school this fall. Half-day would be plenty for him as he is a younger kindergartner (5 in June). But our friends who had K students this past year, which was the first for all day, were very pleased with it. And most of all, he will have a teacher who I trust, and who will help him succeed.

Confrontation 10 years, 6 months ago

Several generations of my family have survived all-day-K. Are the kids today becoming too weak to deal with that much education? Are parents too scared to let their kids grow up? Too many moms think that their kids have to remain attached to the nipple for as long as possible. Yes, kids will learn more by going to school for a full day. Most parents sit their kids in front of the television and place video game controllers in their hands. School is far better than the alternative.

r4hawks 10 years, 6 months ago

The all-day kindergarten thing has mostly the working parents of the children in mind, and very little to do with the expansion of education for the kids. Four hours in a classroom setting is plenty for any five-year old. Every bit as much will be learned in a half-day session as would be in an all-day setting. The kids need the joy of just being a kid, and the freedom to let their mind wonder as they wish. For at least half the day, children this age can learn just as well, if not better, in a non-regimented setting at home.
Bottom line: there's no denying, it is all about getting cheap all-day babysitting.

purplesage 10 years, 6 months ago

All day K is simply a response to the world around school. Instead of Mom teaching the little ones and transitioning them to school life, they now have to have preschool. And many districts have been offering all day K for some time. Mom quit being Mom and went to work. The role of motherhood, of parenting, has changed significantly over the years and this is a sign of it.

Mr_B9 10 years, 6 months ago

vvmama, first of all, maybe you should read the COMPLETE posts you choose to attack. I never professed to be smarter than any educator nor did I say I was a conservative. Had you used your advanced degree you probably would have NOT missed my point. Point is, (listen carefully vvmama) the 600k would be better spent towards the existing foundation. Meaning, the existing infrastructure could use that money for better educating opportunities. Sending young 5-6 year olds to Kindergarten for a whole day will not accomplish as much as using that money for the older children and the educators. PS: Lawrence on a whole is liberial and progressive, look it up, the votes are printed in black and white. By the way, spouting off about conservatives makes you look very closed minded. Liberials and conservatives both send their children to school and that diversity is what makes this country and community strong. Not one sided opinions. Maybe your children do need to go to school all day. Then maybe they will learn to respect their neighbors opinion left or right. One more thing, I happen to be a very patriotic American and am proud of it.

kate35 10 years, 6 months ago

Why should it be the mothers job to stay home and raise the kids? Why doesn't the mother work and the father stay home with the children? Also, those who believe kindergarten is a form of nannying are incredibly ignorant and apparently have no idea what modern day kindergarten consists of.

kshats 10 years, 6 months ago

I was part of the Lawrence generation that went to all day kendergarten. I turned out fine and in fact I liked it. We are in a period in time where it's almost impossible to get to stay home with your kids. I have a 2 and 3 year old and I had to basically sell everything I own and go on assistince to get to stay home after they were born. I just put them into day care and I feel gulity about it all the time. But you can't stay home anymore and our goverment sets up nothing to help parents fincially stay home. In Canada Mothers get 1 year paid maturnity leave and fathers get 6 months. In france you get paid to stay home with your kids till they are 3. Only in America, Only in America

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 6 months ago

Who's paying for all day Kindergarten?

A: Taxpayers

Bobbi Walls 10 years, 6 months ago

I also went to all day Kindergarten, and turned out fine. My oldest started out going all day in McLouth, but then went to half days here in Lawrence. Thankfully, our kids go to Woodlawn, so that when the baby starts in 2010 she will get to go all day as well. They cram so much into 4 hours, that these kids are not really learning anything. At least with all day, they can spread it out and the kids also get to see what real school is like, including lunch, assemblies, etc.

guesswho 10 years, 6 months ago

Let's not get into a debate about whether it is biological to stay home with children. (There are plenty examples of women who have killed their children.) Yes, taxpayers may be funding this, but taxpayers also fund 1/2 day kindergarten and the rest of K-12 and I'm not hearing too much griping about that. I'm guessing those of you are opposed to this are also opposed to welfare - which was originally conceived so a mother would not HAVE to work outside of the home and could be with her children. More early childhood education should be funded - this is a critical period to develop skills that parents may not have the capability or time to provide.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 6 months ago

I blame the "No child left behind" act. Teachers have to cram as much of certain subjects into a day that they really do not have time for one on one time with kids, I am talking k-6, and half day k does not allow the teachers any time to sit and really teach, they have to get thru as much as possible even if they know some kids just are not getting it and need extra help. At the end of the year you have a whole bunch of kids tha just a few years ago would have not been passed to the next grade being pushed thru and then it is some other teachers fault. I do not blame the teachers they are only doing what they are told they have to by the law, and I have talked to several that think half day k is a waste of everyones time and the "no child left behind" is a recipe for failure. I have had kids in both all and half day, and the all day is, in my opinion, far better for the kids.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 6 months ago

opps I meant some other teachers problem. Not that teachers see kids as problems my brain just not in full awake mode yet.

Ghost78 10 years, 6 months ago

Come on Marion, biological imperative? Not only is that a convoluted "if you believe in evolution, this must be true" argument, but as a species, we're past pure instinctual biology. The biological side of mothering (breastfeeding) is done in the first year, and then it becomes an issue of societal pressure. Many past generations grew up under the traditional roles of father as provider and mother as nurturer. Those roles have evolved as our society has, with better educational and career opportunities for all regardless of gender. If my wife made more money that me, I'd happily stay home with my daughter. That has nothing to do with biology and everything to do with common sense and a family commitment to raise our own children.

Rationalanimal 10 years, 6 months ago

This isn't about education, this is about extending free daycare from a half to full day.

mom_of_three 10 years, 6 months ago

Back in the day, women stayed home with the children because women were thought to be submissive, delicate but morally pure and suited to the home. Women were there to offset men, who were competitive, lustful, violent and better suited to the world of business, politics and physical labor. Now, we all know times have changed, roles have changed, and why it's not necessarily mom staying home with the kids, nor does mom have to.
Yes, kids are probably better off staying home with mom (or dad) than going to daycare, but we don't live in a perfect world. Many families, including my own, were unable to stay at home with our kids. It doesn't make us bad parents, or bad mothers, but I assure you, we found suitable people to care for our children.

All day kindergarten will not be the end of the world.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 6 months ago

so going on with the theme that it is about daycare, should we cut all grades to half day? If so then the kids will be going all year long so that is free summer daycrare then what. This is about education and what is better for your kids education if you do not want all day kindergarten then keep them home for that year then sed thm all day for first thru 12.

Stew 10 years, 6 months ago

People need to be critical thinkers when considering the cost/benefit of this issue. The best way to think critically is to consider the research and not simply one's gut. For example, Stofflet (1998) found in the Anchorage School District's (1998) study of the long-term effects of full-day kindergarten no major long-term effects related to the length of the kindergarten day. Stofflet claims that it "is likely that, over the years, family background, individual study habits, and other school programmatic factors outweigh the 'kindergarten' factor." Further, Hildebrand (2001) in a study of 147 students in a Midwestern school district that compared full-day, half-day, and alternating full-day kindergarten found "no clear differential effects of kindergarten schedules" on either academic achievement or classroom social behaviors. Conversely, Weiss and Offenberg (2002) tracked 17,600 Philadelphia students from kindergarten into fourth grade and found that full-day kindergarten students had "significantly higher achievement scores in reading, math, and science, higher report card marks and better attendance" by third grade, although by fourth grade they had higher achievement in science only, and higher attendance. While there surely are several potential factors leading to the differences in these studies (e.g., poverty level of the youth) it is worth noting that the decrease in academic achievement beginning in the fourth grade found in Weiss and Offenberg (2002) study suggests that Stofflet's other factors my begin to play a role (e.g., .family background, individual study habits). Notably, the factor of poverty level seems to be critical in the benefits of all-day kindergarten (e.g., Nielsen & Cooper-Martin, 2002).

The data raises several questions. One, how many poor kids does Lawrence have that will benefit at the cost the taxpayers will incur? It does not make sense to support a program that spends large amounts of money to help a few. Second, are people willing to let other individuals raise their kids at such a critical age when there appears to be little benefit other than not having to deal with day care or one parent staying at home? Finally, where is Lawrence's data. Lawrence had full-day kindergarten and then switched to half-day. Surely the school district could compare the kids that were in full-day and the kids that were in half-day and see if there are any academic differences or success in life differences.

In conclusion, it seems Lawrence is again playing follow the leader (i.e., do what other communities do) and specifically, the school board members are playing the popularity game. It seems none of the school board members or Lawrence parents willing to by into this additional expense have given this much critical thought or perhaps they have and the newspaper just did a poor job reporting when the story first came out. Perhaps the reporter of the original story should go back to kindergarten.

Staci Dark Simpson 10 years, 6 months ago

tanetti-I am a parent thank you for your sweeping generalization. My son will go to Kindergarten next year. Maybe I am lucky I can stay home but even after his preschool 1/2 day we come home paint, work on writing, go to the library, take walks. I feel he learns just as much if not more than going to kindergarten all day. We can work at his pace, if he needs a nap that day he takes one. We can flip this around. I went to Kindergarten a half day and it didn't hurt me. I was an honor student. And oh heavens my mom even let me watch TV in the afternoon. I think everyone knows what works for their kid but kids grow up to fast anyway. Let them have half a day to learn thru play and exploration. Everything doesn't have to be so structured for a 5 yr old.

Confrontation 10 years, 6 months ago

I love how everyone assumes that it's better for a kid to be at home with its mother. Too many parents are screwed up and fail miserably at raising a child. School is the only chance that some of these kids have to be around normal people. They can also be around friends, rather than hanging out with Mommy, having her obsess, and watching soap operas. I'd hate to think of what kind of affect Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Maury, will have on this generation. No, you're most likely NOT the best influence on your child.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.