Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about
Full-Day Kindergarten in the Avon Grove School District
1. Why has Avon Grove moved to a full-day kindergarten program?
More than three quarters of schools nationwide offer full-day kindergarten programs, where students have the time to learn at their own pace rather than rushing through key concepts. A half-day kindergarten program is rapidly becoming an antiquated model that gives our youngest learners less than three hours a day to master critical literacy and math foundational concepts. Additionally, they don't get enough time to develop the social and emotional skills necessary to be successful in a classroom setting. A full-day program is the appropriate academic move for a district with high standards.
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 is 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 is kindergarten housed?
Full-day kindergarten is at Penn London Elementary School. Every kindergarten classroom has a bathroom. Modular units are on-site for second graders; a number of second grade classrooms are assigned to the modulars. 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 have recommended to cap kindergarten classes at 22.
6. What are the hours for full-day Kindergarten?
Kindergarten hours are the same as the regular elementary school day: 8:25 am - 3:15 pm
7. Won't this be a long day for kindergarten students?
Children have a balance of active and calming activities during the day. Teachers 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 also be available during the school’s welcome and registration events.
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?
In our full-day program, we simply added 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 helps some children learn to read and write more fluently than a half-day program. The same benchmarks are in place, but we’re finding that students are able to reach them faster in a full-day compared to a half-day program. We’re finding that the full-day program is less academically stressful and less harried than the half-day program since teachers have adequate time and don’t have to rush.
10. Will you offer any half-day options?
All kindergarten classes are full-day programs.
11. Do the full-day kindergarten students have the option of staying at school for the Y After-Care program or be transported to a daycare?
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 are only 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 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 then worked as a team for more than a year to develop our own program.
13. How and when do I register my child?
Kindergarten registration opens on February 1st. 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 in May. 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.