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Full day kindergarten comes to DTSD

Elizabeth Newman, Copy Editor

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Say goodbye to half day kindergarten.

At the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, Derry Township School District will be offering full day kindergarten for the first time. The School Board approved this switch on June 12, 2017.

The Hershey Early Childhood Center is home to kindergarten and first grade. Full day kindergarten will be implemented at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. (DTSD)

DTSD has taken many steps to prepare for the switch to full day kindergarten, according to a responses to questions posed on a recent Community Night. One of those steps was visiting other schools that have already implemented full day kindergarten. The administration said that they have visited Carlisle, Mechanicsburg, and Warwick so far. There are more visits lined up for the future. They have also met with preschools and daycares in the community about the switch.

The reasoning for switching to full day kindergarten is because teachers felt rushed during the half-day program. DTSD kindergarten teachers are teaching a full day curriculum in a half day time frame. Since those teachers felt rushed, they had to pick and choose what material to cover, and the first grade teachers are having to spend extra time on the social and emotional aspects of learning. A full day schedule will also give more time for the students to play, which is very important for young children.

Children in full day kindergarten tend have better problem solving, collaboration, and self-regulation skills. Students also have more time to learn concepts and master them. There will be plenty of time for recess and a quiet time during the day. DTSD is looking at two 20 minute recess periods.

Current DTSD kindergarten teachers are excited and supportive of the switch to full day, according to DTSD administration. They also expect many benefits like closer relationships with each family. This will be easier since each teacher will have half the amount of students they previously had. The teachers are also looking forward to a more relaxed sense within the classroom, and being able to spend more time focusing on developing the social, academic and emotional sides of children.

DTSD is looking into a waiver that parents could use to have their child not participate in full day kindergarten, but instead continue half day, if they feel full day kindergarten is not right for their child. These children would be dismissed before lunch, just like students are now. DTSD’s research has shown that a lot of families would choose to go full day sometime in the middle of the year, as opposed to right away in August.

Some new things will be introduced to DTSD’s full day kindergarten, including six new classrooms (possible), and a new schedule for kindergarteners. There will also be some aspects that remain the same. Transportation and class sizes are included in this group. Buses will be available to pick up and drop off children before and after school just like they are able to now. Class sizes will also stay the same with about 17-20 students per classroom.

All of the changes going toward the idea of full day kindergarten will hopefully spark a difference in the overall ability of Hershey students throughout their school career.

About the Writer
Elizabeth Newman, Layout designer

Elizabeth Newman is a layout designer for the Broadcaster. She is a junior at HHS and has been a part of the Broadcaster for two years. Elizabeth also...

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Full day kindergarten comes to DTSD