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Parents Prepare for Full-Day Kindergarten

It's an educational opportunity some have fought for, for decades in Windsor, but full-day kindergarten will finally become a reality when school kicks off on August 28.

As Windsor parents are gearing up for the new school year, there's a small population who are probably the most nervous: parents of Windsor's first class of full-day kindergarteners.

As of August 20, Windsor had 210 registered students for kindergarten.

The concept of full-day kindergarten has been talked about for over a decade here in town, and the road to its final approval took several months, which included and ended in a unanimous, affirmative , cast by the Windsor Board of Education. Not only did a full-day kindergarten program get approved, but the entire district was reorganized, as well.

For the most part, Windsor parents are in favor of the increase of class time for the town's youngest public school students, feeling it will bring them into line with area schools and national standards.

Parent Heidi Ritchie will be seeing her son Sam go to kindergarten this fall and she is pleased that he is being offered a full day.

"I am thrilled about the full day Kindergarten," she said. "Sam is quite active. He has been looking forward to starting the school year." 

Ritchie says that while her son has only had a little over a year of preschool, he is ready for kindergarten. She has been working on academics with him at home. and she has also spent time talking to him about what appropriate behavior for kindergarten is. They have also visited the school where he will be attending.

Lauren Grimshaw, 5-year-old Jake's mom, feels he will get used to the new schedule. 

"I haven't done anything much to prepare Jake for full day kindergarten," said Grimshaw. "I am not very concerned about it being full day - in fact I think it is a positive thing." Grimshaw had Jake attend preschool and even had him go to 2 weeks of full-day camp this summer. 

Having had an older daughter go through the half-day program, she always thought it was a short day and she was amazed at how much her daughter learned. "Her teacher, Mrs. Addie, was excellent and I can only imagine how much more she could have accomplished with a full day," she said.

Superintendant Jeffrey Villar says the schools that will be welcoming their first class of kindergartners, Poquonock Elementary School and Oliver Ellsworth School, are "are extremely excited and positive about full day kindergarten."

"Because of the expansion of kindergarten the district has added four new teachers who will join 9 returning teachers for a total of 13 full day kindergarten teachers," he said. "Extensive training for elementary teachers occurred last year in preparation for this year.  In addition, a two day training was held for kindergarten teachers over the summer," said Villar.

Both Poquonock and Ellsworth have planned welcome nights for parents and students, prior to the first day of school, where they will be given the opportunity to meet their kindergarten teachers.  

Clover Street School and John F. Kennedy School both will be Grades 3 through Grade 5. As part of this consolidation.

Do you have a kindergartener entering school this year in Windsor?  Do you have any concerns about them adjusting to a full day of school?

Susan Vinick August 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM
I think that full day kindergarten will work for some kids but will be more difficult for others. Nineteen years ago, my eldest daughter attended afternoon kindergarten at Kennedy School, after having attended preschool for two years in the mornings for three days a week. While she thrived academically, as the week would progress, I could see her getting more and more tired. By Friday, she was a bear! It seemed to me that she missed her afternoon nap. My younger daughter, who had given up napping earlier, did fine. I think full day kindergarten will work for most kids but will be a struggle for some.
Jennifer Coe August 24, 2012 at 09:32 PM
I agree with you, Susan. I have talked to many a parent who has their concerns about this change. While some kids are ready for the challenge, it is going to blow the socks off of others!
Mary Ann Overbaugh August 26, 2012 at 03:07 PM
While at Ellsworth School to vote, I noticed a lot of packing boxes and was reminded of how the school system would be reconfigured. I know a lot of planning and discussion has gone into this decision and I am hoping it will improve the actual learning environment and produce a better result in student performance.

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