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An Afterschooling Plan for Half-Day Kindergarten

In our neighborhood, full-day Kindergarten costs $3,600. Half-day Kindergarten is free, but is only two hours and 40 minutes.  All of the research I’ve read says that full-day Kindergarten makes a difference. I have an “I Brake for Moms” column coming out next Sunday, explaining the issue.

If you’d like to take a look at the research yourself, here you go:

Education.com’s Full-Day vs. Half-Day

Fact Sheet from the Children’s Defense Fund

Full-Day vs. Half-Dad Kindergarten; In Which Program Do Children Learn More?

In our neighborhood, if you take out all of the minutes from lunch and recess, full-day Kindergarten means 5 hours and 15 minutes of instructional time per day. Half-day Kindergarten is 2 hours and 25 minutes. (Please note, I don’t mean to be dismissive of the importance of recess. Children learn a lot on the playground.)

So if we were to chose half-day Kindergarten, could I somehow Afterschool enough to get in the extra 2 hours and 50 minutes a day? Yes; definitely! Here’s how:

An Afterschooling Plan for Half-Day Kindergarten


Language Arts Block, 60 minutes


Choice Time, 30 minutes

  • Full-day kinders would likely be getting this at school. This thirty minute block would be a chance for my child (and I) to unwind while I got the next activities set up.


Math, 30 minutes


Specials, 30 minutes

Homework (from school), 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME = 2 hours and 50 minutes!

The cost of this Afterschooling plan would be about $350, including the uber-expensive science kits. I could splurge and get the Highlights kits too, and still come in way under $600. Or I could go the other way, and do the whole plan for practically nothing. I’d just swap about the math section for this page of free activities here.

What’s half-day Kindergarten like in your state? Are you stressing out about registering your child for Kindergarten too?


  1. […] Here’s my “I Brake for Moms” column from today’s Everett Herald. We decided to register our daughter for half-day Kindergarten with an intent to Afterschool. […]

  2. Debi says:

    I have a soon-to-be 5 year old that will also attend K in the fall. Despite what the research says, I am more and more inclined to think that afterschooling plus half day is strictly better than full day. I can make a lot of accommodations for him here at home – I let him stand and jump up and down while doing math on the computer, he can go take a five minute play or exercise break when he grows frustrated, and I can always teach to his level. Do you not worry about your daughter getting bored in school? The schools proudly tell me their highest K reading group is mastering 1st grade materials (now, halfway through the year), but I think my boy is at least at a 2nd grade reading level. We have submitted our local registration form, but wait to hear from charter school lotteries in the next two weeks – and then have decisions to make – but I think all our options are that short 1/2 day K you are talking about.

    By the way, many of your posts have been very helpful to me over the past 2 or so years and I respect your opinion on many of the materials you have mentioned. Thanks for your blog.

    • Hi Debi,

      Your comment touches on the really BIG, big-picture issue. IMO, there is no way my child would learn with a extra 2 hours and 50 minutes a day spent with 22 tired five-year-olds, than she would learn at home receiving targeted one-on-one instruction from me. (That makes me sound like a homeschooler!) What you’re saying about differing reading levels is spot-on too. My daughter is a level D/E reader, right now at 4.5 By September, I expect her to be at J/K. That’s going to be a challenge for her half-day Kindergarten teacher, because Jenna won’t be average. At home, I’ll be able to accommodate her unique needs exactly.

      The big-picture question is this. If one-on-one instruction is so meaningful and effective, why are full-day K classes out performing the half-day classes? I think the answer is the failure of our society to mobilize parents. All we hear is “read a book to your child”. Yeah, that’s great, but there’s so much more we can do, (which is the whole point of my blog). If half-day Kindergarten parents could receive an hour or two of some simple training, plus a stack of Bob Books and a subscription to Dream Box Math, I bet good things would happen, and it would be cheap.

      For my family’s decision, in really isn’t the $3,600. It’s truly believing in the value of one-on-one time with my daughter, and confidence in the ability of parents to be their children’s best teachers.

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