Finger painting, playdough, ABC’s and storytime; that is how I remember my time in Pre-K years. Games, songs, and recess were all a part of my Pre-K experience and for a lot of us, that is how we remember it. For some of us kindergarten was the first time to ever experience a school environment. My, how times have changed. Just in the past decade, Texas has been placing a greater importance on children attending a Pre-K or Head Start program before going into kindergarten. In doing so, schools across the state have evolved from offering a half school day program for four and five year olds to an all-day school program.
Now, if you’re reading this and have a 4 or 5 year old, you are probably thinking one of two ways; one way would be: Why would anyone want to send her baby to school all day when he has the rest of his life to be in school? The other way of thinking would be: This is great as long as it helps my child socially, emotionally, and mentally be prepared for kindergarten. Well, I have to be honest with you. I was the parent that thought about both questions. As a mother, I wanted my son to stay with me and be a little kid as long as possible before handing him over to a new teacher aka stranger he did not know for eight hours. I liked the idea of a half school day for social, emotional, and mental growth. Then the educator side of me thought, “Who is it really affecting if my son went half day or all day?” I came to the conclusion that there are so many great things that can come from an extra four hours of school – more time with kids his own age and something that is structured because I am a sucker for structure. Listing the many benefits would turn this blog into a short story. The bottom line is, I am a mom and an educator, and I saw more good things coming out of an all-day Pre-K program than from a half day one.
In an All Day Pre-K program, you will notice a slower pace which leads to extended learning. A playful environment and hands-on learning are not constricted by time. There will be more one-on-one time spent with the teacher which leads to a more flexible learning environment. There will be less stress on both child and parent in the preparation for kindergarten. Most important of all – there will be more time for your kid to just be a kid. In Pre-K, a lot of what your little one is learning comes through play. The more hands-on experiences, the more information is being absorbed and retained. I have a passion and desire to see our little ones grow into amazing thinkers and doers, but if they lack the basic fundamentals, then what good are we really doing for our kids by keeping them home until they go to kindergarten? At some point we, as parents, must put aside our fears and let change happen. I know we want to keep our kids close and protect them from the world as much as possible, but when it comes to education, we should be open to a new and exciting world under the loving care of a teacher’s guidance. Our goal at Trinity is to make your child feel safe, loved, and confident in his or her learning environment.
Mrs. Mary Fox
All Day Pre-K Teacher