Special Needs

Full day or half day kindy?

If you have/had an option, which did you choose and why? 

I'm starting to do tours and such to research our kindy/grade school options. So far I've only really looked at half-day programs, but we could also do full-day.

I'm a little torn. It means more school hours, and so far doing 10 hours/week of preschool has been really beneficial for DD1 (ASD) -- but some days she does come home exhausted after 2.5 hours, and I wonder if she needs another year of half-days before she can consistently handle a full day of school. 

We have not addressed kindy with her IEP team yet, I'm doing my research now so that I have a good sense of our options.



DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010

Re: Full day or half day kindy?

  • I would go for a full day kindergardten. Make increasing length of day something to work on if DD needs to go home early during the day due to not handling things and proper requests for breaks or leaving part of this if necessary.  I would do for the full day because a full day kindy has a lot of advantageous and this can be a good time to work on getting her used to a full day of school before first grade.  it also increases peer time, time to work on lots of school behaviors like following directions, sitting, working, etc.
  • I'm right there with ya- just started doing tours. Full-day is pretty coveted in my city. The lower-income neighborhoods mandate full-day, in mine it's by lottery only. For us, we will push for full day. We might get it written into his IEP, which would put us ahead of the lottery. Because DH and I both work full time, any time he's not in the classroom he'll be at the school's "after school" care program, basically free time in the computer lab, recess, etc. And "full day" still only means 6 hours, so I'd rather he be getting instruction.

    Can I ask what type of environment is your DD offered? My son has been offered main stream with service either either an ASD classroom, or if we prefer, he can go to a school without an ASD program and just be serviced by a special ed resource teacher. I'm overwelmed by the choices, we have literally about 8 schools to tour.

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  • Personally, I see a huge benefit to the full day.  In my opinion, 2.5 hours is not enough for a child to get both the educational and social benefits of school - particularly for a SN kid.  Right now my daughter is 3.5 y.o. and in a full day preschool and I feel like it's her only shot at being able to handle a typical kindergarten class.  She has learned so much in the short time since she started in public school.  It is however a very long day and very tiring and if she does require a lot of outside therapy, that might be a reason to try for half day but try to get the social aspect in other activities after school (enrichment programs, etc).  My daughter has 2 hours a week of outside therapy and we do one on Monday evenings and one on Saturday afternoons. 
  • I teach full day K so I am probably biased, but there is NO WAY we could cover the common core curriculum in just a couple of hours.  If your child is going to receive services at school, she needs to attend a full day program or she will miss most of the academic portion of the day with therapy pull-out.

    If you are considering red-shirting, then a half day for this year followed by a full day next year would be an appropriate option.  If she is going straight to first grade, I think it  is a very difficult transition from a half-day K to a full day first for many kids (especially considering the academic rigor that is now in place).

  • I am going for full day kindy next year. Ds2 is in his second year of half day pre-school and I know he is ready for full day next year. Actually at the begining of this year there was talk about him doing a 3rd yr of preschool, but he has come so far in the past few months that I think he'll be ready. At this point we have only 3 schools that offer the level of support he needs, and I know which one I want him to go to - excellent reputation.

    We have an IEP meeting in Dec - well technically an eligibility meeting since they messed up his original IEP and qualified him as a child with hearing loss, which he now doesn't have (whole other story!) - and I think kindy options will be talked about at that point.

    And as one PP said, the all day option helps since dh & I both work, although I only work 'school hours' so am off to get ds1 from school, and ds2 from daycare.

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  • If it had been an option, we would have done 1/2 day kindergarten the first year and then full day kindergarten for the next year.  My 5 yr old is a July baby and is delayed and we fully intend to do a 2nd year of kindergarten.  He's doing full time right now bc thats all that is offered here. 
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