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Why Full Day Kindergarten?
You may be asking yourself, "If our kindergarten teachers cover all of the required standards already in the half-day program, then why do we need all-day kindergarten?"
Yes, our teachers do cover the standards. But the current half-day schedule allows them to do only that - cover the material. Kindergarten teachers today face higher academic demands for kindergarteners than ever before and they have to fit those academics into a half-day - which may lead to a race through the 2.5 hour day and a race through the year to cover those academic standards. And coverage of the material should really be the floor for our expectations of our school district. For all students, but especially our youngest learners, covering the material is not the most effective way to approach teaching and learning for understanding. True understanding and the development of the competencies we value in the Profile of a Ramsey Graduate can only come from uncovering the content through investigation and deeper exploration. And investigation and deeper exploration are only possible with more time. And more time is a gift that All Day kindergarten will provide for our teachers and students. If all-day kindergarten becomes a reality in Ramsey, we will not be cramming more into the already packed kindergarten curriculum. We will be giving the teachers time to provide more individualized instruction, giving the students the time to go deeper into the subjects and allow the kindergarten experience to have the appropriate balance of academics and social-emotional learning through play.
If you are still not sure of the academic benefits of an all-day kindergarten program, please ask the experts - the kindergarten and first-grade teachers in our district and others that you may know. Kindergarten teachers will tell you that more time would make all the difference and first-grade teachers in districts that have transitioned from a half-day to all-day program will tell you that the difference in student preparedness for first grade is night and day.