Watching the clock: use of instructional minutes in full vs. half-day kindergarten

"The quality of the kindergarten experience is fundamental to the ultimate impact on young children and their success in school and in life" (Kaurez, 2005,p.3). The quality ofthis experience can be greatly impacted by the amount of time the student spends in the classroom. This study focused on the use of instructional minutes in full-day and half-day kindergarten programs. Observations were conducted in both types of programs, daily schedules were collected, and surveys were distributed to teachers who taught both types of kindergarten to find out what experienced teachers found to be benefits and challenges about teaching each program. Several kindergarten teachers were interviewed as well. The findings from this study suggest that full-day programs have more time to go in depth in subject areas and have more time for individual instruction. Full-day also includes more instruction in art, music and physical education than its counterpart. However, depending on the child's maturity level, and pre-kindergarten experience a full day of kindergarten may be too long for children.