District 308 Beginning Full-Day Kindergarten Information Nights Tonight
2011 brings full-day kindergarten throughout the district with registration beginning this month.
Oswego Community Unit School District 308 will join the ranks of schools across the state that are giving parents the option of putting their children in full-day kindergarten.
After a three year pilot program, the Board of Education approved the option of providing full day kindergarten for regular and dual language classes in September.
Marsha Hollis, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for District 308, said she is looking forward to offering the program after a successful pilot program at Southbury Elementary School where 98 percent of parents said they wanted the program to continue or expand.
"It's a great opportunity and we're really excited to offer it for parents, it's a very solid academic and cost effective program," Hollis said.
Although children will be in school longer, Hollis emphasized that in the day long class they will only be doing age-appropriate activities. They will not be using a first-grade curriculum.
"We're really working on students perfecting their age-appropriate activities and their fine motor skills, their cooperation skills, their self control," Hollis said.
A full day would double the amount of time children spend on music, art and physical education. End of the year academic expectations are the same for both full- and half-day students.
Hollis said the full-day kindergarten classes will especially benefit at risk students.
"It's academically been researched to be very effective for at-risk learners, students will exit kindergarten with above average reading skills," Hollis said.
An at-risk student is categorized as being a year or two behind in what they know because of high life challenges.
In Illinois, 86 percent of schools have full-day kindergarten and 72 percent of students are enrolled in full-day kindergarten. School districts do not have to offer full-day kindergarten, but if they do they must also offer a half-day option.
"Both of our full-day and half-day programs are exemplary programs; we're just providing a full-day option if parents want that," Hollis said.
Although half-day will still be available for all students, scheduling, participation and location constraints may not make both options available at a student's home school.
Registration will start in January, which is much earlier than previous years because the district needs to determine how many new teachers to hire and what elementary schools will be able to provide full-day kindergarten. Final registration is Friday, March 4, and parents must indicate if they want the full or half day by Friday, April 1.
Late registration is available, but there is no guarantee children will be enrolled in the full day program.
Registration packets are available online, by calling the school and by going to the school or district office.