Our view: Support for full-day kindergarten
Most would agree that students belong in school and that a full day is better than half a day, which is why offering parents the option in Crystal Lake District 47 makes sense.
One might expect that research would show marked educational benefits to full-day vs. half-day kindergarten, yet that doesn’t necessarily appear to be the case. The social advantages are even harder to quantify.
There is some research suggesting that full-day kindergarten is better for economically disadvantaged students, but there is so much that goes into preparing children at this critical time in their learning lives that it’s difficult to isolate a factor such as the length of a kindergarten day.
If the research was more obvious, we’d expect more clamoring for all schools to offer full-day programming. But you’ll find a mixed bag of offerings, even within McHenry County. Some districts offer it, while others don’t. In some districts, it’s an option, albeit a popular one.
Like many local districts, District 47 officials are facing declining enrollment, so the timing seemed appropriate to add full-day kindergarten as an option.
There are costs associated with full-day kindergarten, and parents who can afford it will be asked to contribute if they want their children in the program. That fee would be waived for those who wouldn’t be able to afford it.
The proposed fee of up to $170 per month is significantly less than the cost of childcare, and likely will not offset the entire cost of hiring additional teachers.
The district’s school board should consider this factor as it works to implement the new program.