Full Day Kindergarten


Scope Statement

Increased demographic diversity in the US, in addition to changes in the family structure during the past decades, has led to an increased need and desire for full-day kindergarten. During the past twenty years, the face of kindergarten has been changing to meet the needs of students and their families. As a result, numerous questions have arisen:
  • How is full-day kindergarten funded? (Keywords: full-day kindergarten, funding, government, federal, state, Title I, grants, tuition, grants, legislature) (CHJ)
  • What is included in half and full-day kindergarten curricula? (Keywords: full-day kindergarten, curriculum, reading, mathematics, social skills, first grade readiness) (NM)
  • How does full-day kindergarten impact the social and academic development of students? (Keywords: full-day kindergarten, social, academic, behavioral) (CHJ and NM)

Nowhere is the concept of states’ autonomy more visible than in the education. Investigating a state’s implementation of full-day kindergarten is one area where this is clear. The following sources provided information regarding the topic of full-day kindergarten.


Bennett, William J., Chester E. Finn, and John T. Cribb. The Educated Child: A Parents Guide from Preschool Through Eighth Grade. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1999.
William, Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education, provides a comprehensive guidance of what a good education means. Curricula and specific objectives of kindergarten children (as well as other elementary levels) are included. At the kindergarten level, Bennett emphasizes reading and comprehension, writing, spelling and literature (NM)

Brewster, Cori, and Jennifer Railsback. Full-Day Kindergarten: Exploring an Option for Extended Learning. Portland, Oregon: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 2002.
This booklet covers major concerns of districts and parents considering full-day kindergarten as an option for their students. Topics include appropriate program content from a curricular and developmental perspective, student readiness, cost, “Characteristics of Successful Kindergarten Programs,” tips for successful implementation, and “Considerations for Parents.” Profiles of four schools offering full-day kindergarten discuss program description, observed outcomes, tips, and challenges. The source concludes with lists of research studies, resources, and references. 31 pgs.(CHJ)

Calkins, Lucy M., and Lydia Bellino. Raising Lifelong Learners : A Parent's Guide. New York: Basic Books, 1998.
This book is based on the idea that parents are their children’s first and most important teacher. It draws on a philosophy of active learning and provides practical tips and suggestions on how parents can best create a literate environment at home. Educators can use this book as a source for curriculum review. Emphasis on talking, early reading, early writing and playing well. Discussion of full day kindergarten programs indicates that children will more likely have the opportunity to receive instruction in special areas such as music, art, library science, physical education and computer classes on a more frequent basis. Lucy Calkins is a nationally acclaimed educator and author of many articles and books. Calkins currently serves on the faculty of Teachers College, Columbia University, NY (NM)

Jacobs, Heidi H. Mapping the Big Picture: Integrating Curriculum and Assessment K-12. Alexandria: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 1997.
For educators who need to have a clear picture of curricula that is covered at every grade level in their school, Heidi Hayes Jacobs explains the benefits of curriculum maps. Using a computer based application, teachers can see at a glance what curricula are being covered at any point in time during the year. Kindergarten teachers can use these maps to gain a working knowledge of what their students will be expected to learn in the next grade. In this respect, they can prepare these learners for future classes. Repetitions across grade levels can be identified as well as gaps. The process for creating and working with these maps, from collecting the data to ongoing curriculum review is explained very well in this book. Also includes more than 20 sample curriculum maps. (NM)

Journal Articles

Eisner, Jane. "Full-Day Kindergarten Shouldn't Transform Kids into Robots." Philadelphia Inquirer. 28 Nov. 2000.
This article discusses full-day kindergarten at a school in a Philadelphia suburb. At this particular school, full-day kindergarten students enjoy 45 minutes a week on computers and other weekly specials. Children in this school still enjoy their playtime; coloring stories and playing bingo. (NM)

Jacobson, Linda. "Full-Day-Kindergarten Fees Draw Critics, Legal Concerns." Education Week 27.23 (13 Feb. 2008): 20-21.
With research showing full-day kindergartens to be beneficial to students and needed by working parents, the demand for full-day kindergarten continues to increase. State funding (which varies by state) and federal funding for these programs, however, has lagged behind. Jacobson’s article discusses how states such as Oregon, Ohio, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Virginia are beginning to address the issue of grants and public schools charging tuition to fill the funding gap. 2 pgs. (CHJ)

new_second_wiki.jpgRothenberg, Diane. "Full-Day Kindergarten Programs." Eric Digest. June 1995.
This article discusses full-day kindergarten programs. About one-third of the article is devoted to the characteristics of effective full-day kindergarten programs. Developmentally appropriate child-centered all day kindergarten programs should emphasize language development, offer a balance of small group, large group and individual activities and develop children's social skills, including conflict resolution strategies. Other topics include demographics and research. References are included. 6 pgs. (NM)

Viadero, Debra. "Full-Day Kindergarten Produces More Learning Gains, Study Says." Education Week 25.8 (19 Oct. 2005): 1-16.
Viadero writes about a national study that supports the notion that children learn more in full-day kindergarten programs than in half-day programs. This study is based on 8,000 children in public school kindergarten programs. The results show that on average, the learning gains that these pupils make in full-day programs translate to about a month of additional schooling (NM)

Viadero, Debra. "Study: Full-Day Kindergarten Boosts Academic Performance." Education Week 21.31 (17 Apr. 2002): 14.
A study of 17,000 Philadelphia schoolchildren suggests that full-day kindergarten programs have both academic and financial payoffs. By the time kindergarteners reached 3rd or 4th grade, Children who attended full-day kindergarten were more than twice as likely as children without any kindergarten experience to have made it there without repeated a grade. The study did not show how teachers used the additional time, so it is unknown whether those children had increased playtime or increased academic time (NM)

Web Resources

Alabama Department of Education. "Search the Course of Study." 2008. Alabama Learning Exchange. <http://alex.state.al.us/search.php>.
This web site provides access to the Alabama Department of Education’s database of standards. The database is searchable by grade level, content area, and keywords. Of particular interest to this pathfinder, are those searches for kindergarten. Note that full-day kindergarten is mandated in Alabama. (CHJ)

new_third_wiki.jpgCannon, Jill S., and Alison Jacknowitz and Gary Painter. Is Full Better than Half? Examining the Longitudinal Effects of Full-day Kindergarten Attendance October 2005. Rand Labor and Population. 22 October 2008 <http://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/2005/RAND_WR266-1.pdf>.
The authors of this paper provide a statistical analysis of student and maternal outcomes for students attending full-day versus half-day kindergarten. Their research challenges existing research on the subject particularly noting sample selection. Findings note that gains made in full-day kindergarten are lost by third grade.
As a result, the authors question the allocation of funds for full-day kindergarten programs. This document includes appendix of data and references. 48 pgs(CHJ)

Department of Oregon Education. Searchable Standards. 2008. <http://www.ode.state.or.us/teachlearn/real/standards/Standards_AdvancedSearch.aspx>.
This web site provides access to the Department of Oregon Education’s database of standards. The database is searchable by grade level, content area, and strand. Of particular interest to this pathfinder, are those searches for kindergarten. Note that full-day kindergarten is not mandated in Oregon. (CHJ)

Early Child Longitudinal Program - Kindergarten Cohort. 2008. National Center for Education Statistics. http://nces.ed.gov/ecls/kindergarten.asp
This website provides a description of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) study. These ongoing studies focus on early school experiences beginning with kindergarten and following the children through middle school. Because of its longitudinal nature, educators and researchers can learn how family, school and community factors impact school performance. Reports include differences in instructional activities in full-day and half-day public kindergarten programs. Time spent on Reading/Language Arts and various activities such as letter names and writing the alphabet are included. (NM)

new_fourth_wiki.jpgEducation Commission of the States. "How States Fund Full-day Kindergarten" Aug. 2005. StateNotes. <http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/63/10/6310.htm>.
This report compares funding for half-day versus full-day kindergarten for each state. In addition, comparisons are made between funding for kindergarten (half-day and full-day) and first grade. A brief, although concise, explanation is given on how state funding formulas provide incentives and disincentives for offering full-day kindergarten. State data, presented in table format, includes information on categorical funding programs for funding of full-day kindergarten. Dollar amounts and adequacy of funding for each state is not within the scope of the article. (CHJ)

Education Commission of the States. Kindergarten Database. 2008. <http://www.ecs.org/html/educationIssues/EarlyLearning/KDB_intro.asp>.
This interactive web site provides access to policy information on statutes and finance for kindergarten by state. Database is searchable by state profile, state comparison, and 50 state reports by statute and finance. Finance search includes state definition of full-day kindergarten as well as weight given in states financial formulas for each grade level. Data for U.S. territories is included. (CHJ)

"Kindergarten." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 13 Oct. 2008. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/kindergarten>.
This source provides an overview of kindergarten from its beginning and how it functions in several countries. A short introduction to the topic of full-day kindergarten is included. This brief summary mentions that one benefit of full-day kindergarten is an easier transition into first grade, while a criticism of full-day kindergarten is that is serves to full the obligations of the No Child Left Behind Act. References are provided. (NM)

MA Department of Education. FY 2009 Tuition Policies for Full-Day Kindergarten. Dec. 2007. <http://www.doe.mass.edu/ess/ta/fc701.pdf>.
Kindergarten attendance and funding vary by state. This source documents tuition policies for the 2nd half day of full-day kindergarten program for the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Policy covers tuition cap, lottery system, and “ability to pay” rules. Includes a table for determining a student’s payment responsibility based on family size and income. 2 pgs. (CHJ)

National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center. Financing Strategies For Early Care and Education. Aug. 2008. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 23 October 2008. <http://www.nccic.acf.hhs.gov/poptopics/funding.html>.
This source provides a list of organizations and publications with ideas for funding for early childhood education. Sources were selected because of their focus on increasing funding and suggesting alternative means of funding early childhood education. (CHJ)

Office of the Education Ombudsman. Title I. Washington State. 2007. <http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/education/title.asp>.
One of the main objectives of full-day kindergarten is to close the gap between impoverished students and their more fortunate peers. As a result, Title I is essential to the funding of full-day kindergarten in Title I schools. This link provides a brief overview of Title I. (CHJ)

Plucker, Jonathan, et al. The Effects of Full-day Versus Half Day Kindergarten: Review and Analysis of National and Indiana Data. Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. 9 January 2004. <http://ceep.indiana.edu/projects/PDF/FDK_report_final.pdf>.
Prepared for the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents Information and Research Commission, this document reviews current research on important issues for districts considering implementation of a full-day kindergarten program: effectiveness (nationally and in Indiana) and allocation of time (full-day compared to half-day). Statistical data regarding instructional approaches (whole class, small group, individual) and content (language arts, math, play) are included in addition to a table of kindergarten policy by state and reference list. The authors provide a final recommendation. 44. pgs. (CHJ)

Links checked and available October 26, 2008.