Nowadays, due to greater stress being paid on preparatory schools and realization of importance of transitory medium before formal education, a lot of kindergartens are mushrooming all around. Most of them provide quality environment for kids to adapt to formal schooling. Some of these kindergartens are half day whereas some are full day kindergartens. Both have certain pros and cons attached to them catering to varying needs of parents and children. Let’s try to analyse the benefits of both the programs.
Half Day Kindergarten
As we all know that kindergarten is the first interface of the child to external environment without the protection of the loving parent around. Till the child attains the age of close to 4 yrs, the child is always under the supervision of one or both the parents or some elder in the family. Once the child attains this age, s/he is required to start preparing for formal education else separation from parents becomes traumatic for kids at later stage. However, this separation from parents needs to be gradual else a lot of kids and parents find it hard to adjust to changing environment. Thus, to provide this gradual change a Half Day kindergarten is best suitable for kids and parents.
It’s not just the kids who face problem, rather parents also find it hard to adjust to the new schedule as they also get used to their kids being around them. Long hours of separation trigger a lot of anxiety in parents. They always worry about what their child is doing at school. On the other hand, long hours of separation could prove to be traumatic for kids. They miss their parents and could develop aversion towards the education system. This could hamper their whole attitude towards education. The kids get tired after spending long hours away from parents and this could also affect their eating habits.
In this regard, Half day kindergartens provide a balanced option. The kids get to experience separation also from their parents and home; however, at the same time they get back to their parents after few hours. This gives ample time for parent –child interaction and bonding. At the same time, the kid is able to relax in the comfort of their home and get proper sleep for better growth and development.
Half day kindergartens are more beneficial in terms of better parental involvement. The teachers teach certain concepts as school and send homework so that children can revise those concepts at home along with their parents. In this ways parents also remain in touch with the concepts being taught to children.
Along with this, it is a known fact that children have short attention span. Due to short attention span it becomes difficult for kids to engage in certain activity for long period of time. Either they need multiple activities or proper rest in-between, else the children tend to become cranky and tired. In this way half day kindergartens are suitable for small kids as they expose the kids to external authority, multiple activities but give them ample time to rest at home and to engage in other activities or games of their interest.
Apart from this, the child gets time to engage himself in some specialized training such as dance, music or certain sport. After resting for some time at their home, the children can go to these specialized training programs with unleash their talent and give them an advantage and extra edge.
However, due to less time being spent at kindergarten, the kids are unable to engage themselves in certain fun activities such as supermarket visit etc. Along with this, half day kindergartens could be a bit demanding for families where both the parents work full time.
Let’s summarize the pros and cons of Half day Kindergartens:
Pros of Half Day Kindergarten
Provide balanced approach to handling sudden transition in the life of children and parents. Gradually the anxiety of parents vis a vis the safety of their children gets dissipated and children also get time to settle in their changing routine.
Children get time to take proper rest which is essential for kids of this age for proper development and growth
Better parental involvement in the curriculum of the child as they help the kids to complete their home projects
This helps to deal with the issue of short attention span in kids
Children get time to engage themselves in a more specialized activity such as dance, music, sports etc.
Cons of Half Day Kindergarten
Children get less time to spend at kindergarten which sometimes limits their fun activities such as supermarket visit.
Half day kindergartens could be more demanding for families in which both the parents are engaged in full time work.
Full Day Kindergartens
With growing number of families, where both the parents are working full time, the concept of full day kindergartens is also gaining acceptance. Due to obvious reasons, full time working parents prefer their children to stay for long hours in the safe environment of school. These parents have less time and scarce resources to look after the child if the child is only being sent to half day kindergartens. Full day kindergartens take away a lot of stress from the shoulders of full time working parents.
Full day kindergartens, due to long hours, provide more relaxed environment to carry out different activities. They can take the kids for field trips more often which helps to develop the social skills of kids. Along with this, full time kindergartens give more time for free play. This helps in dealing with the problem of short attention span of kids to some extent. However, if a child doesn’t have friends then these kids can experience isolation and a feeling of inferiority complex.
Apart from this, though there is a nap time in full day schools but that is not sufficient for kids of this age. Along with this most of the kids don’t feel comfortable in sleeping at schools. This leads to fatigue and irritation in kids.
For a lot of kids, full day kindergartens, create a lot of trauma in the initial days due to long hours being spent away from parents and home. Though most of the time kids adjust over time, however, for some it leaves a lasting impression in their mind. Moreover, kids who go to full day kindergartens tend to develop too much of attachment with their teachers which could prove to be problematic when they graduate to formal education. They tend to miss their kindergarten teacher to the extent of developing an aversion to formal school.
However, full time kindergartens are proving to be boon to those families in which both the parents are working, socially disadvantaged families who don’t have much resources to expose their kids to more specialized trainings and proper nutritious food.
Following is the summarization of the pros and cons of Full Day Kindergarten
Pros of Full Day Kindergarten
Boon for families in which both the parents work full time
Advantageous for kids coming from less economically well off families as kids get better exposure to multiple activities.
Children get nutritious meals
More chances of going out for field trips
More time for free play
Cons of Full Day Kindergarten
More traumatic transition of kids from home to schooling
Less time to engage in specialized trainings like dance, music etc.
Less parental involvement
Too much of attachment with the teacher
So these were certain pros and cons of both the Half Day and Full Day Kindergartens. Based on this analysis, parents need to take an informed decision regarding the type of kindergarten most suitable for their kids. A lot of factors are involved in taking this decision which includes the working hours of parents, single parent families, socio economic status of the parents, adaptability of the child etc. They need to take the best decision which could be beneficial for them and the kids both, without putting any undue pressure on either of the two parties.