Advantages and Disadvantages of an All-Day Kindergarten Program
Kindergarten students explore at the science center

When compared to half-day programs, research on all-day Kindergarten programs shows that children enrolled benefited both academically and socially. Studies have shown that Kindergartners involved in an all-day program work more independently in the classroom, work better with their peers, are more involved in classroom activities, and scored higher on academic assessment. These students also displayed less shyness, anger, and withdrawal while making greater progress in developing appropriate social skills. In these studies, teachers and parents indicate that they prefer an all-day program because it also provides children with more time for creative activities and development of individual interests within a more relaxed atmosphere. Despite these results, there are also some advocates for the traditional half-day program. Half-day programs are much less expensive for school districts. Some people feel that children of Kindergarten age are not yet ready for such a long day or that they will be focusing too heavily on academic work before they are ready. Below are the advantages and disadvantages to full and half-day Kindergarten programs, compiled from the research listed on the reference page.

Most researchers have also concluded that, though the length of the instructional day is important to consider, the curriculum and quality of the Kindergarten experience offered is vital. Characteristics of an effective Kindergarten program are important to consider when selecting an appropriate Kindergarten program for your child. Each family should make a decision after weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the program. Look through the table below, browse through the research, and look at the activities that are part of the program at Lincoln when making a decision.

Listen to a short interview with Diane Muir, Early Childhood/Title I Reading Coordinator, about all-day Kindergarten in the Dubuque Community School District.


Allows time for experiential learning
Requires more classroom space
Provides an unhurried, relaxed school day
Requires more teachers
Provides more time for quality interactions between adults and students every day
More supplies must be purchased for students to use during an all-day program
Participating students have exhibited strong academic advantages - some studies show effects lasting through 4th grade
Program may become too academic with teachers working on basic skills with children who are not ready
Few problems reported with attention span or length of day
Students may get tired and worn out from all-day work
More time available for careful assessment of student progress
Associates necessary to keep up appropriate student:teacher ratio
More time available for students to receive individual help
Some students not ready for all-day experience
Students have time to work in a variety of settings; small group, large group, etc
All-day programs may be looked at as free child care
Provides teaching and learning continuity with less transition time
Teaching structure needs to be altered to fit with all-day schedule
Quality experience that orients children adequately to school
Children disrupted midday to move from one program to another
Less probability of stress than all-day program
Parents must arrange transportation at midday when Kindergarten ends
Allows more time for children to play at home in more unstructured environment Children are unable to attend school assemblies
Allows more time for children to interact with family at home
Children don't have time for field trips, field work, and service projects
May be more appropriate for child's attention span
Children aren't able to experience social interactions with other students at the school during lunch and recess



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Last update: January 10, 2011

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