Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about
Full-Day Kindergarten in the Avon Grove School District
1. Why is Avon Grove moving to a full day kindergarten program?
The current half-day kindergarten program is rapidly becoming an antiquated model that gives our youngest learners less than 3 hours a day to master critical literacy and math foundational concepts, as well as to learn social and emotional skills necessary to be successful in a classroom setting. More than three quarters of schools nationwide offer full day kindergarten programs, where students have the time to learn more thoroughly and deeply instead of rushing through key concepts. Not only is moving to a full day program the appropriate academic move for a district with high standards, but we anticipate the program will actually save the district money as more charter school students return to Avon Grove to take advantage of full day kindergarten.
2. What will my child be learning?
- Build early reading and writing skills
- Develop an understanding of math concepts and problem-solving through hands-on activities
- Experience expanded opportunities in science, social studies, art, music, library, PE, technology, and structured play
- Develop effective school habits and social skills
The goal is for students to have a fun, engaging experience that will foster a lifelong love of learning and prepare them for the rest of their elementary years. The program will be developmentally appropriate with a focus on movement. We understand that young children need to move and learn best through play and discovery.
3. What does the research say about full-day kindergarten?
- Students in full-day kindergarten classes show greater reading and mathematics achievement gains than those in half-day classes – and those gains typically stay with them through later grades.
- Students in full-day kindergarten classes tend to do better with the transition to first grade – they show significant gains in school socialization, such as understanding appropriate behavior and interacting with other children.
- Teachers have the opportunity to get to know students better and address their learning challenges early – helping to get and keep them on track. They also have more time to provide enrichment and individualized instruction to meet every learner’s specific needs and challenge them.
- The earlier students’ learning challenges are addressed, the less intervention that’s needed in future years. That can translate to cost savings that can be used to provide other learning opportunities.
- Full day kindergarten students have more opportunities for creativity and more varied experiences since they don’t have to rush through their curriculum.
4. Where will kindergarten be housed?
Full Day Kindergarten will be offered at Penn London Elementary School, and every kindergarten classroom will have a bathroom. Modular units will be brought in for second graders as we shift space to make room for additional kindergarteners. We are completely confident this is a good solution for the next few years. These units are safe, clean, and highly functional. They operate just like a traditional classroom.
5. What is the class size for full day kindergarten?
Our school district’s policy caps the kindergarten class size at 24, but we are recommending we try to cap kindergarten classes at 22.
6. What are the hours for Full Day Kindergarten?
Kindergarten hours will be the same as the regular elementary school day: 8:25 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.
7. Won't this be a long day for kindergarten students?
Children will have a balance of active and restful activities during the day. Teachers will help students develop stamina by pacing activities differently in the fall compared to the spring. You can help by talking about school in a positive and upbeat way and by making sure your child gets enough rest and eats healthy food at home.
8. How do I know if my child is ready for full day kindergarten, and how can I help my child prepare?
We've developed some materials to answer some common questions and help families get ready to send their children off to school in the fall. Copies will be available during the school’s welcome and registration events this winter.
Children must be five years old by September 8th of the school year to enter kindergarten.
9. Will my child be asked to learn more than students did in the half day program?
We are not adding to our curriculum, we are simply adding time to allow us to go deeper in our teaching and learning, to ensure that children truly grasp the concepts. For example, a full day program will likely help some children learn to read more fluently than a half day program, but the expectations for what they’re expected to learn and know will not change. We expect that the full day program will actually be less academically stressful and less harried than the half day program since teachers won’t have to rush.
10. Will you offer any half-day options?
All kindergarten classes will be full day programs.
11. Will the full day kindergarten students have the option of staying at school for the Y After-Care program or be transported to a day care?
If you require daycare for your child, transportation can be provided as long as it is within the boundaries of the Avon Grove School District. Buses will only be able to drop students at one consistent location after school for all five days. The Southern Chester County YMCA provides child care at Penn London for a fee.
12. How are you preparing the teachers?
Our kindergarten teachers and administrators are working this year on developing curriculum and learning additional skills and techniques to help provide the best possible learning environment. Our staff is excited about this opportunity!
13. How did the school district prepare for this change?
A team of administrators and teachers studied full day kindergarten for months, analyzing other programs, research, and what it would take to make a program successful in Avon Grove. We than worked as a team for more than a year to develop our own program.
14. Who will monitor the success of the move from a half to a full day kindergarten program?
Avon Grove’s team of administrators and teachers will meet regularly to review the progress of the program and monitor any changing needs. We will report back to the community and school board. We anticipate having a very successful start to full day kindergarten.
15. How and when do I register my child?
Kindergarten registration opens on Monday, February 27th. Registration will take place at Penn London Elementary School with a scheduled appointment. As a part of the registration process, children will complete a brief screening assessment. This will provide the school team with an overview of each child’s basic skills.
Registration events and information will be shared with families, posted to the district’s and school’s websites, and discussed during information sessions.