Young Kindergarten FAQ
What is the young kindergarten program?
The young kindergarten (YK) program meets all day, every day, just like our regular kindergarten program, but it may not be held at every elementary school. YK offers a developmentally appropriate curriculum designed to meet the needs of a child who may need one more year of social, emotional or academic development. It is ideal for younger students, typically those with birthdates after Aug. 1.
The program immerses students in the essential kindergarten curriculum at a pace that is based on the feedback the teacher gets from each student. Because it is designed with the “gift of time” in mind, teachers are able to spend more time on essential concepts and skills if students demonstrate they need additional support.
From a socio-emotional perspective, students have additional time each day (twice as much as a half-day schedule) so that the pace can be customized to meet their needs. Students can focus on routines, social skills and fine- and gross-motor experiences.
YK takes a more hands-on approach to academics than kindergarten but still offers many traditional learning opportunities. The development of fine motor skills in preparation for kindergarten is an important part of the young kindergarten program.
Why did the district move to an all-day young kindergarten program?
Young kindergarten is customized to meet the needs of all students while our former program, Young Fives, met the needs of some children. Young Fives was offered for the same targeted student population, yet many students attended full-day preschool, only to go to a half-day Young Fives the following year. In addition, some students were misplaced in kindergarten because parents needed a full day vs. a half day program. Young kindergarten will provide a full-day program yet will allow for frequent breaks and rest. Students immerse themselves in the kindergarten curriculum at their own personal pace while developing skills needed for the next level of learning. Young kindergarten is an exposure to the kindergarten curriculum with more emphasis on a developmental or hands-on approach. The expectation for students in regular kindergarten is “mastery” and the pace is much faster.
Will there be a half-day option within the young kindergarten program?
Yes, while the primary structure is all day, every day, this will still be an option. However, we will want to have a conversation regarding the daily schedule and work with the parent to customize the experiences needed for a student to be ready for the next level of learning the following year.
Will my child be screened to help make an informed choice?
Our goal is to work together to make the best placement option for your child. We do not screen every child and can often make suggestions and placement decisions through discussion and parent input. Screenings may help some parents and staff make an informed decision about kindergarten vs. young kindergarten placement, especially for students with birthdays in July or later. If you are interested in scheduling a screening, please contact our district office. After the screening, we will make a recommendation. This recommendation, combined with your input and the input of your child’s preschool teacher, will help us collectively get the placement right, which is so important in your child’s educational journey.
Will my child have specials such as art, music and physical education?
Yes, those are structured into the day.
What are the benefits of an all-day young kindergarten or kindergarten program vs. partial day? Based upon national research, all-day programs provide the following benefits:
- Increased teacher/student interaction
- Increased time for students to meet state curriculum requirements
- Increased achievement in math
- Increased achievement in literacy and language development
- More relaxed pace for students
- Increased opportunities for parental involvement
- Provided more opportunities for enrichment
- Increased early-intervention opportunities
- Improved transition into the next grade level
- Reduced the need for at-risk programs
- Ability to dig deeper into concepts and skill development
If my child attends an all-day young kindergarten program, will they attend the all-day kindergarten program the following year?
Most students will attend all day, every day kindergarten the following school year. However, the parents and teacher will look at the school experience data from the first half of the year and determine the best placement together for the following year.
What is the best way to prepare my child for all-day young kindergarten or kindergarten?
Providing your child with a variety of background experiences and social interaction with others is a great beginning! Taking trips to the zoo and parks, playing with other children, and visiting museums and the local library are great learning experiences. In addition, one of the most important experiences is to READ to your child and connect the story to his or her life experiences.
Will my child eat lunch at school?
Yes, students will have the opportunity to bring a lunch to school or take advantage of the food service program. There will be an adult assigned to these students to monitor their movement in the lunchroom and outside.
Will my child have recess opportunities?
Yes, they will have increased time to socialize with their peers in a less-structured setting.
Will my child have rest opportunities?
Yes, teachers will be sensitive to the student's need for rest in an all-day setting.
What will transportation look like for my child?
Transportation and the start and end times are the same for all-day young kindergarten, kindergarten and grades 1-6. Partial day students will be bused to school but will need to be picked up from school at the designated time(s) the parent and school determine for dismissal.
Updated March 2023