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Committee Recommends Full-Day Kindergarten in Suffield

The Suffield Board of Education heard the proposal for a full-day kindergarten with half-day option and will take action at the next meeting.

The Suffield Board of Education on Jan. 22 will consider a switch to a full-day kindergarten program with a half-day option based on recommendations from a study committee on the plan. 

The switch could cost the district upwards of $130,000 in technology upgrades, salaries for 2.4 teachers as well as other necessities. The town’s board of finance followed by a town vote would have to approve the expenditures.

Committee members presented their findings at Tuesday night’s board meeting after several months of study which included parent surveys, site visits to other district programs and community forums. Changes in state standards and increased curriculum demands prompted the study. 

“The full-day model gives teachers time and tools to better meet the needs of the Common Core State Standards,” explained Ben Rodriquez, a parent on the committee.

The recommendation includes an option to keep a small half-day program for the number of parents who aren’t interested in the full-day plan. Committee members said they were sensitive to parents who feel kindergartners are too young to spend a full-day at school. 

Kristi Collins, mother of four children, told the board a full-day program takes important time away from the life lessons her child gets at home.

“I have devoted my life to my children,” she explained. “If you decide (on a full-day program only) my only option is to home-school.”

Board member Bob Eccles suggested the committee and others in support of FDK appear at upcoming town board meetings.

“There’s no question FDK is going to be a budget issue at the town level,” he said. “... It’s important the board of finance hears you.”

Ben Rodriguez January 10, 2013 at 01:48 AM
Full day kindergarten, with a half-day option is a great thing for the community and at a minimal cost. The cost ($130K) amounts to 2/10th's of 1 percent of the budget. Even better, there's a plan to offset just under half of those funds. Teachers are in favor of the move and many parents are too. For those parents not in favor, no problem, the half day model is still available. So it's a win/win. The Common Core Standards are rolling out across the country. In Connecticut several towns have already made the move and their experience informed this process a lot. The half-day model isn't equipped for modern day education standards. Half-day models only squeeze too much in too little time, with no social or play time allowed, which in Kindergarten is very important. I hope Suffield chooses to make the move.

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