The Rocky Hill School District may switch to all-day kindergarten, although it is still early in the process of exploration.
The school board unanimously approved a motion to direct Superintendent Mark Zito and Assistant Superintendent Marian Hourigan to conduct a "feasibility study" on the possibility. Zito declared that the administrators' initial steps would consist of assessing enrollment, space, and fiscal considerations, as well as surveying district parents. They also will research the long-term benefits of the program to students, based on "longitudinal studies" of kids who have attended all-day kindergarten, and will additionally evaluate "staffing implications."
"The assistant superintendent is doing a report on all day kindergarten," Zito said recently. "With the isues of the Common Core which will be implemented giving us new standards of curriculum, students are expected to know more and do more at a younger age. With a half day kindergarten there is a time crunch to get everything in."
If Rocky Hill implements full-day kindergarten, it will join Wethersfield, Glastonbury and 71 other school districts in the state that have already adopted it. Many other districts are also mulling the change, including those in nearby towns Berlin, Durham, and Southington.
Hourigan cited the need to double instructional time so kindergartners are better able to meet the federal Common Core standards adopted by the state. The first Common Core assessments are scheduled for the 2014-15 school year.
Zito said there are many advantages to a full day kindergarten.
"Parents and teachers have expressed that the day is so compressed that it makes it hard to deal with the academic and social type of development that you are seeking," Zito said. "With a half day kindergarten the students miss out on the specials, physical education, art and music. The social element of school is as important as the academic aspect, especially at the early ages. We want to make sure we have social development as well as the common core together."
Zito and Hourigan will report their findings to the board once they have concluded their study. In the interim, the issue is expected to be raised again at upcoming meetings of the Curriculum Committee.