August 17, 2012

AM or PM?

My little guy is finally entering Kindergarten, but as of now I am not excited about it in the least.

While many schools across this country have already started their year, here in my little neck of the woods we don't start until AFTER Labor Day. That I don't have a problem with at all. What I do have a problem with is that it is now August 17th and I have no idea if my son is going to be in morning or afternoon Kindergarten.  Less than three weeks away and I can't make a plan as to what I am going to do with him the in the other half of the day that he is not in school.

What takes so long?

Hard to believe he is going to kindergarten
I remember back in April I had to fill out about 317 pages of redundant nonsense in order for me to register him for school.  Surely sometime in the past four months they could have come to some sort of conclusion as to which kids would be slotted into which time.  There are a total of 36 kids that will be starting Kindergarten in a few weeks, 18 in the morning and 18 in the afternoon, we just don't know which kids are going when.

How are parents supposed to plan their lives this way?

When my oldest son was in Kindergarten I was still working, so we made the choice too keep him in a private school. It was a full day so there really was no need to plan for anything else.  My wife would drop him off at 9:00 and I would pick him up at 3:00. But I am not working anymore so we made the choice to put my youngest in public school, where the day either starts at 8:30 or 12:30.  For me I would rather my son be in morning Kindergarten, but since I AM a stay at home parent I will just make due with what we are given.

While it is a major inconvenience to not know when my son is going to be in school, at least we have the ability to have a parent home the other half of the day.  I don't know how families with two working parents are supposed to manage.  How do you plan for alternate child care if you have no idea when you are going to need it for?  Why does this decision take FOUR MONTHS?

The school knew back in APRIL who was going to start in the fall. A-P-R-I-L!!! It's not like all of these kids are coming from parts of town that they don't already send a bus to.  How hard can it be to split up 36 kids?  We should have been told at the end of the last school year at the very latest where our kids were going to be slotted.

Why has it come to this anyway?

That was me in Kindergarten
Why do we still have half day kindergarten?  I know for a lot of kids going to half day Kindergarten will be less school than they already have been going to.  My sons PRESCHOOL was a full day.  He was in daycare for a full day before that.  And now when he enters the public school system he only goes for a half day?  That makes no sense to me whatsoever.

Maybe it made sense 30 some odd years ago when I was in school, but in this day and age when it seems every kid has gone to some sort of preschool program, the idea of half day Kindergarten just seems so archaic.  I know the whole story about how schools are being forced to cut programs and teachers.  I get it.  I'm not completely opposed to doing that, my property taxes are through the roof.  Certainly somewhere the money can be found to make Kindergarten a priority, because right now, with a school day that is only 2:45 long that doesn't seem to be the case.

I don't know when we will find out what time of day he is going to school, maybe I will get excited for him then.  But in the meantime I just find myself more annoyed than anything.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?



  1. Most of our surrounding towns have gone to full day. But here they still split sessions. Course, there are 12 classes of over 25 kids each (6am and 6pm) in our school, and there are 7 elementary schools in town, so largely the reason it is still done is budgeting. They would need 6 more teachers for our school alone, and 6 more classrooms. I love that Youngest's teacher is looping to 5th grade and is taking half her class with her (my son included) but we won't get the official notice OR the supply list until the 30th... that's what? 5 days before school starts.

    I am seriously thinking about sending him with his back pack, a pencil, and a glue stick.

    OH! And don't even get me started about how they start the day after labor day, and then have Thursday off for primary day, and then they are back in on Friday. Yeah... a whole lot of learning is happening that first week... It's a working parents scheduling nightmare.

  2. We have seven shhools in the district. That would be seven more teachers at the minimum. The secondary schools are gigantic and there no telling how many programs there are that are unneccesary. The school calendar is nuts with te amount of half days that they have. Half the time indont think they have any idea what is going on on the home front, not do they care.

  3. Sometimes I think it is more about the superintendent's golf game and vacation house availability. :(

  4. Half day kindergarten sucks. Seattle public schools only pays for half day, and it is up to individual schools to find a full day K. My kids go to Catholic school, which fortunately has full day.

  5. whoa whoa whoa! I didn't even know 1/2 day kindergarten existed anymore. Remember back in the 80's when it was socially frowned upon to make your child attend morning AND afternoon kindergarten?

  6. There is a neighboring town that doesn't even offer kindergarten to everybody... It's done on a lottery. Those that don't get in have to find a private full day kindergarten, doesn't seem very fair if you ask me.

  7. Oh yeah it's alive and kickin around here... If you want full day though you need to tack it on or find a private school.

  8. My sister lives in California and they don't find out the teacher or the school supply list until a week before school starts.
    My little dude is starting Kinder this year too. I think half days are a joke. They do offer full day in our district IF you pay 4 grand. Um what? No thanks, not for Kindergarten. I feel for the parents that get bullied into paying that and still have to do some sort of daycare. I found out 4 months ago my son was in am.. But he is special ed, and goes to a therapeutic day treatment the second half of the day, so the schoo had to comply with my wishes. Kindergarten is optional in my state, but it is sort of a rite of passage. I guess we all have to learn not to eat glue and make macaroni necklaces. Probably going to get some backlash from a Kindergarten teacher for that last statement. Meh.
    Good luck!

  9. There are places that you can put your kids in after care around here... The school will bus the kids there, but obviously you have to pay for the extra care like you would day care, that's partly one of the reasons we just chose to put our oldest in full time private kindergarten. Too much traveling when he could be learning. ONE WEEK?! That's just stupid. Do they really just eat glue there? I thought that is what preschool is for.

  10. John,

    Being 42 year-old now, I started Kindergarten in 1974 and finished it in 1975. I asked my mom to verify I was correct but she told me they were told from the day I enrolled I would have the AM schedule. It was a first come first serve basis. According to her It made parents get there early to enroll their children and not wait until the last day to enroll. If you didn't make it until the last day and all that was left was the afternoon schedule that's what you got.

    I wonder if that system would work better again. The schools wouldn't have near as many last minute enrollments and no one would get special treatment. My son doesn't start pre-school until next year and the one benefit for us is he will be in all day (as he will kindergarten too) So, I won't have to choose morning or afternoon (although if I know my son he would prefer afternoon to be a little bit more awake and


  11. First of all, you are still working. You are no longer employed. You are a parent home with your kids - you are working. Don't even think otherwise.
    It doesn't take 4 months for them to place the children into classes. It takes minutes. But, if they were to decide placement and announce it in the spring then they'd have to deal with complaining parents for 4 months.
    Having already had 7 of my pack pass through kindergarten thus far, I am of the opinion that the half-day thing is the better way. All of mine so far have been in private school full-day kindergarten with wonderful teachers. Nonetheless, I think half-day is better.
    We as a society push our kids too hard. It gets worse every year. We force them to grow up and to hurry up and learn what would be better absorbed later. I think the reduced stress of less time in formal instruction is a gift to our little 4 or 5 year olds. They will be in full day school for the following 12 years. Let them just learn to love the idea of learning, make some new buddies, eat some paste and head home. More unstructured play time is a gift they will benefit from.
    It is easier for me to have our kids in full-day kindergarten because of my work schedule, but I would still prefer half-day and would choose that if it were offered at their school because I think it'd be better for my kids.

  12. My daughter starts Kindergarten this Fall, and is ready for school... all day long. It is my wife who actually is struggling with the thought of my daughter being gone for a full day. Modern Dad was talking about the Seattle schools, and I live in that area, and it's a common practice to have to pay for Full day Kindergaten.

    I also work in a Middle School in a decent district, and though I don't ant to rant about school reform, there are some policies built in to dealing with annual school funds that do not dvocate frugality or smart money management. Not to make excuses, but I do believe that the school system is messed up and that our educational priorities are all cattywampus!