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Thread: Full-day Kindergarten in Wayland - When & How?

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  1. #1
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    Default Full-day Kindergarten in Wayland - When & How?

    I am very interested in the full-day kindergarten issue in Massachusetts. I have heard both sides and would like to flesh out my knowledge of the issue. A friend of mine who is the literacy specialist at Bennet-Hemingway Elementary School in Natick (where there is full-day kindergarten) feels it is a huge benefit for the kids there. Most classes apparently have 2 hours a day of "literacy" and that it helps many of the kids read faster. I have also heard that full-day kindergarten only helps those who have learning issues and that the extra time in school is not necessary for the majority. I think that the first grade teachers are the best resource since they see the direct results of full or partial-day kindergarten in the children's performance in school.

    I recently spoke with a good friend whose daughter attended half-day kindergarten followed by a BASE program until 6pm in Lexington, MA ten years ago. In first and second grades she required extra remedial reading help. She was not a good reader. (I must add that she had no dyslexia or other learning issues.) She is now 16 years old and scored in the 98th % on the English SAT. Two points: perhaps full-day kindergarten would have made extra help in reading redundant; the other point is that early reading skills aren't related to reading performance in later years. I know that the Waldorf schools don't begin teaching reading until 7 or 8 years old.
    Last edited by Elizabeth Price; 04-14-2008 at 12:46 PM. Reason: additional information

  2. #2
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    Default Should we? Or shouldn't we?

    I think Wayland needs to get moving on this. Who starts the ball rolling on this? It needs to have a 1-2 year plan and it's time I think to start making it a reality. I know that towns around here didn't have kindergarten at all until very late 60s or 1970. I know that I went to private kindergarten in Westwood, MA in 1966. By the time my sister went in 1970, there was public half-day kindergarten. It's time for full-day kindergarten. Back then (I know I'm so old) in grades 1-4 girls had to wear dresses or skirts to public school. No pants. We all wore danskin (sp) shorts underneath for the monkey bars. Dresses only (for girls), half-day kindergarten.... it's time to break out of the time machine.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Price View Post
    I think Wayland needs to get moving on this. Who starts the ball rolling on this? It needs to have a 1-2 year plan and it's time I think to start making it a reality. I know that towns around here didn't have kindergarten at all until very late 60s or 1970. I know that I went to private kindergarten in Westwood, MA in 1966. By the time my sister went in 1970, there was public half-day kindergarten. It's time for full-day kindergarten. Back then (I know I'm so old) in grades 1-4 girls had to wear dresses or skirts to public school. No pants. We all wore danskin (sp) shorts underneath for the monkey bars. Dresses only (for girls), half-day kindergarten.... it's time to break out of the time machine.
    This is the province of the School Committee. We'll be discussing the topic this fall. I'd be interested in hearing from people about their preferences for building the cost into the budget versus making it fee based, with the pros and cons of each.

  4. #4
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    Default Full Day K is the Way to go

    I completely agree with Jeff on this issue of early literacy! I am a first grade early intervention literacy and math teacher (AKA Title I) at the Johnson school in Natick. Children are building on their literacy skills since birth. Learning language/sounds is the first phase of reading. Children of Kindergarten age are all at different developmental stages. That's why some 5 year olds are emergent readers and some aren't. There is a huge developmental leap from K through first grade. That's why it's so important for these children to be submerged into a literacy and math enriched classroom full day. Here is as I see it. A full day K classroom certainly does Literacy and math stations throughout the week. How about an extra dose of these stations in the afternoon. The K teachers can really catch the kids who need extra support by working one on one or in small groups. The literacy specialist can also work inside the classroom with many reading programs available for struggling readers. Believe it or not,there's a wonderful math program designed to support the districts math program, Everyday Math or Investigations. Natick and Weston use it, It's called Kathy Richardson math. It's a great tool to assess a young child's development with number sense and beyond. Wayland doesn't have time to implement all these wonderful programs to it's full extent. We can utilize the best literacy and math teaching available with full day K.
    Jeff, I hope K teachers and First grade teachers will be involved in the discussion to seriously move to a full day K program here in Wayland.
    It should be done immediately! I would be happy to help in any way I can.

  5. #5
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    Default How to pay for it?

    I got so excited talking about full day K, I forgot to mention some possible ways to pay for it. I know there's a seperate thread about the redistricting. I did mention consolidating sports with another town to share the costs. I think if we have a Wayland/Weston crew team,why not a Wayland/Weston golf, ski and swim team? How about a joined gifted and talented program? Also bus fees will help. I just keep thinking that if our peer towns can afford full day K, why can't we? Wayland citizens pay just as much in property taxes as our peer towns. They made it work. Why can't we?

    We need some balance here. What's more important, a gifted and talented program or full day K? Believe me, I understand the importance of all programs, it's bummer to cut anything. My oldest will go to the high school next year, so I feel the pain of activity cuts. How about having some activities sponsered by town businesses, like the WBSA does. I may be throwing ideas out that may have already been discussed. How do our peer towns pay for full day K? How can we not afford it?

    A neighbor was telling me about an article she read that some towns are going back to the neighborhood school model and encouraging kids to walk to school to cut down on bussing costs. (It's also great exercise to get kids moving.) There could be some wonderful savings if we go back to go foward.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Price View Post
    Two points: perhaps full-day kindergarten would have made extra help in reading redundant; the other point is that early reading skills aren't related to reading performance in later years. I know that the Waldorf schools don't begin teaching reading until 7 or 8 years old.
    Actually, the research is quite clear on the importance of early reading skills. When children struggle early, it is *highly* likely that they will struggle later. And, the effort to remediate is much higher.

    Children should be getting reading instruction in Kindergarten and before--especially those who struggle (and there are assessments that can detect this with high reliability). The research goes on to say that the year between birth and 12 months may be the most important year--children who are not spoken to (beyond the basics) during this period are much likely to have reading difficulty upon school entry.

    If anyone would like references, I'd be happy to provide them. In short, though, Waldorf is wrong.

  7. #7
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    I've copied this post from the reconfiguration thread (mega-threads that veer wildly off-topic make me sad) because I think we should really take a look at the kindergarten program that Wayland offers and how it needs to be improved. Full-day K should be a basic service.

    For the full-day (7:30 to 6:00) program inclusive of the kindergarten curriculum, lunch, weekly Spanish and all the other fun, we pay $283/week. We get a sibling discount as well but I'll not include that so we get get a clear comparison. This compares to the K BASE cost -- only in the afternoon (12:30 to 6) -- of $275/week. I don't know what the before school (7:30-9) cost would be as we didn't inquire. We would need that option, though, as we need to leave work before 8:45, the current drop off time for kindergarten. If I was to estimate that cost at ~$10/hour, the full K BASE cost would be upwards of $350/week for us.

    I understand that BASE offers a socially enriching environment but when the Wayland public school kindergarten program is placed next to what is offered in the private sector now, there really is no comparison. We get smaller class sizes (20 kids for 2 teachers), extra programs like Spanish, no school vacations (a problem for working parents) just to name a few items. In addition, the kids have less pressure as they are no longer forced to complete all their work in 2 1/2 hours. If they need more time, they can use open time in the afternoon.

    It's disappointing that after thirteen years of living in this town, hearing about the great Wayland schools and looking forward to putting our son in a great neighborhood school, we find that a private school option for kindergarten is better, and even less expensive.

  8. #8
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    Kim,

    It is Next Generation Children's Center, ours is in Sudbury. This is not a paid endorsement as we've had our share of complaints, but yes, it offers a very good deal in comparison, doesn't it?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    Piling on to this particular statement...

    Here is one observation in particular to the situation my wife and I realized this year with our kindergarten-age son: the K BASE program itself is more expensive than private full-day (9-3) kindergarten -- with 20 students and 2 teachers, and with lunch, snacks, and full teacher coverage at the center from 7:30 AM to 6 PM. To repeat, the K BASE program is more expensive than that.
    Paul, I am interested in more detail on this. As I understand it, BASE is a break-even endeavor, so I'm surprised it comes out that expensive in comparison. I am curious what you are comparing it to. Can you post information on the particular school(s) you are comparing to, and the list the actual costs (of it and of BASE)? (I couldn't find any detail on BASE costs online). You're right that this is outside the scope of a discussion of public schools, but I confess I'm just curious.

    My quick look just now at private K school costs online made it look quite prohibitive (most looked to be around $15k/year, though they do seem to range from about $10-$20k), much more so than my recollection of BASE costs from a few years ago. But I never made that direct comparison.

    If you think we need a new thread, go ahead and start one, and we can move your last post and this one there.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    Piling on to this particular statement...

    Here is one observation in particular to the situation my wife and I realized this year with our kindergarten-age son: the K BASE program itself is more expensive than private full-day (9-3) kindergarten -- with 20 students and 2 teachers, and with lunch, snacks, and full teacher coverage at the center from 7:30 AM to 6 PM. To repeat, the K BASE program is more expensive than that. That is simply ridiculous. .
    Paul- just curious, how much is the private full-day (9-3) kindergarten?

  11. #11
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    Tracy,

    For the full-day (7:30 to 6:00) program inclusive of the kindergarten curriculum, lunch, weekly Spanish and all the other fun, we pay $283/week. We get a sibling discount as well but I'll not include that so we get get a clear comparison. This compares to the K BASE cost -- only in the afternoon (12:30 to 6) -- of $275/week. I don't know what the before school (7:30-9) cost would be as we didn't inquire. We would need that option, though, as we need to leave work before 8:45, the current drop off time for kindergarten. If I was to estimate that cost at ~$10/hour, the full K BASE cost would be upwards of $350/week for us.

    I understand that BASE offers a socially enriching environment but when the Wayland public school kindergarten program is placed next to what is offered in the private sector now, there really is no comparison. We get smaller class sizes (20 kids for 2 teachers), extra programs like Spanish, no school vacations (a problem for working parents) just to name a few items. In addition, the kids have less pressure as they are no longer forced to complete all their work in 2 1/2 hours. If they need more time, they can use open time in the afternoon.

    It's disappointing that after thirteen years of living in this town, hearing about the great Wayland schools and looking forward to putting our son in a great neighborhood school, we find that a private school option for kindergarten is better, and even less expensive.

  12. #12
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    Paul, your private school sounds like an amazing deal. You're paying $283/week for 52.5 hours/week (plus 5 lunches). Let's figure lunch costs about $2.50/day, so you're paying $270.50 for school itself, which works out to $5.15/hour for schooling. That's fabulous. That needs to cover not only the teachers, but the cost of the facility itself.

    I'm curious what school this is, and whether it is subsidized at all.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Paul, your private school sounds like an amazing deal. You're paying $283/week for 52.5 hours/week (plus 5 lunches). Let's figure lunch costs about $2.50/day, so you're paying $270.50 for school itself, which works out to $5.15/hour for schooling. That's fabulous. That needs to cover not only the teachers, but the cost of the facility itself.

    I'm curious what school this is, and whether it is subsidized at all.
    Kim, your question and mention of facility costs actually made me think of one in reply. Let me turn this around: why are BASE costs so high? I assume that the school budget did not allocate any fixed (facility) expenses to the BASE program, so why would the BASE costs -- which are assumed to be variable -- be twice as high on a per hour rate than NGCC's, which are fully burdened?

    And who would subsidize a private enterprise?

  14. #14
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    Paul, what's NGCC? I can imagine a religious organization, as an example, not charging full rates for schooling, and I can imagine that some schools might not fully load their costs to charge for fixed costs, such as facilities. Private schools also need not adhere to the same teaching certification requirements (and I suspect would not be unionized) so perhaps their teachers are less expensive.

    I'll leave your question regarding facilities to those who know how the costs are calculated. It seems to me that since theoretically these facilities could be rented out to another organization (think of BASE as that other organization), then it is appropriate to include those costs in the program's fees.

    Addendum: oh, I see... it's Next Generation Children's Center. Looks like they have certified teachers, and obviously are a private endeavor. Their rates sure are cheap! I saw the rates I looked up and the ones Elizabeth posted. I hope your child has been enjoying it so far and learning a lot.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 09-27-2008 at 11:30 AM. Reason: to add final paragraph

  15. #15
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    Default Three private schools

    I happen to have handy the information on three private schools here: Dedham Country Day is $18,775 for full-day kindergarten; Charles River School (in Dover) is $19,800 for full-day kindergarten; BB&N (Cambridge) is $23,980 for full-day kindergarten I have looked at Meadowbrook, (Weston) Shady Hill (Cambridge), Dexter (Brookline), Park (Brookline) and they are all in the same range.

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