A new bill could require full days for kindergarten students.
AB 197 would require full-day kindergarten in California starting in 2021.
Under the bill, “a minimum full day of kindergarten would be the same number of minutes per school day that is offered to pupils in first grade.”
Supporters say it would make pick-up time easier and would better prepare kids for first grade.
“In September, they are going to start going all day anyways, so why not get them adjusted already?” said Corrin Lee, mother of a kindergarten student.
Some say it would make schedules easier for working parents.
“The convenience for working parents, it’s going to be huge and not having to pay hundreds of dollars a month of after-school childcare,” Lee said.
Opponents say a longer schedule would tire kids out.
“I think it’s really important for them to go to school, have their half day, learn what they are learning, hang out with the other kids and then come home and process that with us,” said Danielle Koehler, an Atascadero mom. “I think it’s important we are there to help them work through those things.”
Rick Mayfield, Director of Learning and Achievement for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District, says most kindergartens in the district have extended day programs.
He says more school time would pay off.
“From my experience and from our district perspective, the kids rise to the occasion and we have seen a tremendous result by raising the bar for these kids,” Mayfield said. “We are seeing them read and write like we’ve never seen before.”
If the bill is passed, Mayfield says logistics like teacher contracts and P.E. classes would come into play.
“Because the kids have a shortened day, they’re not necessarily doing P.E., art, organized music within the duty day, so there are logistics to figure out,” he said.
Many say it would depend on the child’s needs.
Other parents on social media thought it would be beneficial to make full days optional or have more playtime outside.
On Monday, the bill was sent to committee for further discussion.