In an important new longitudinal study forthcoming in the Feb. 2006 issue of the American Journal of Education, researchers draw on a nationally representative sample of more than 8,000 kindergarteners and 500 U.S. public schools to explore the role of full-day vs. half-day kindergarten in early academic achievement. The researchers found that full-day programs, which are most commonly available to less-advantaged children, are roughly equivalent to an additional month of schooling each year when compared to half-day programs.
"We evaluated program effectiveness by how much children learned in mathematics and literacy over the kindergarten year," write the authors. "Results are clear: when childrens social and academic backgrounds are taken into account, as well as structural, social, and academic features of their schools, children who experience full-day kindergarten as a whole-school program are advantaged in terms of their cognitive learning."
However, the researchers point out that the additional time in full-day kindergarten is not spent solely on instruction. Rather, successful teachers of full-day kindergarten use the extra time with students to "broaden their social as well as their academic experiences."
Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
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