Toddlers in one Canadian province might be spending almost eleven hours inside a school building if lawmakers pass a proposal to combine kindergarten with daycare.
Kids as young as four years old would enter a school building at 7:30 a.m. and not go home until 6 p.m. It sounds like a godsend for parents, but is this too much, too fast for little kids?
The plan would focus on four- and five-year-olds, extending the kindergarten program from the early morning to the early evening, keeping the kids out of daycare centers. It would save parents money, not to mention eliminating the need for shuffling children around during the day from a daycare in the morning to the school and then back to daycare or into a latchkey program.
A Lifenet News story on the subject cites studies that have shown kids who attend daycare in the before school are more likely to exhibit behavior problems in the classroom and another claiming that preschool itself will trigger bad behavior. Honestly, I’m not sure if these are supposed to make the case FOR the program or AGAINST it?
Because this will, in essence, be a preschool program. . . education outside of the home for kids who are four-years-old. On the other hand, it isn’t a strict daycare setting. It’s expected to be more akin to a regular school setup.
And that’s where I have a problem with this. Leaving a kid in daycare all day – for almost eleven hours – at four-years-old – happens for a lot of families because they have no other choice. But even those with an educational component to the day give the kids a breather for much of that ten-and-a-half-hour span. It isn’t school, and when they finally get to school, it will be a different experience entirely.
I’m wary of putting kids into such a rigorous school program at too young an age, lest the love of academia is pounded right out of them. Eleven hours is A LOT for a four-year-old. With kids already worn out by the increases in homework (did you have worksheets in kindergarten when you were a kid) and the increased pressure to get good grades and make it into college, many of our kids are already losing out on the pure joy of learning much too early.
As an adult, I’m tired after a long day at work. Now imagine putting a four-year-old to work for that long . . . all day, every day. Forget learning anything, they’ll be too pooped to move!
Would you put your kids in school for ten and a half hours at four years old?