Commentary: Full-day kindergarten would better prepare Shelton youngsters
Currently, the Shelton public school system only offers half-day kindergarten while surrounding towns (Derby, Ansonia, Seymour, Trumbull and now Monroe, which should start this upcoming school year) have implemented full-day kindergarten.
A total of over 103 Connecticut districts have full-day kindergarten. Our kindergartners now only receive 15 minutes a day of math, reading, science, etc.
Beginning in the 2013-14 school year, the Connecticut Board of Education has passed the Common Core State Standards that need to be met for children in grades K-12, which covers mathematics and language arts. This is to ensure that our children are college ready.
Fifteen minutes a day is not enough time to meet these standards for kindergartners. Here is a link to information regarding the Common Core Standards: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2618&q=322592
Additional funds are needed
The Shelton Board of Education’s hands are tied. They are only allotted so much money in the budget and can't implement full-day kindergarten without additional funds.
Mayor Mark Lauretti has not been generous with the educational budget, forcing layoffs and pay-for-play. However, we now have the animal shelter, dog park and walking paths — all while our children suffer.
The deserve the same opportunities
Here are a few answers to possible concerns.
FOR RESIDENTS WITHOUT CHILDREN: Funding young children’s education provides them with a stepping stone to their many years of learning as they mature and become adults.
By not implementing a full-day kindergarten like the surrounding towns, you are holding them back. How does this help you? They will be your doctors, your police officers, perhaps your next mayor.
They deserve the foundation in education to help them succeed to make this a better town for you. They deserve the same opportunities that all of the surrounding towns are offering to their children.
FULL DAY IS TOO LONG FOR MY CHILD: Kindergarten is not mandatory. You may hold your children back from entering until you feel that they are ready.
Children learn with full-day program
JUST PAY FOR FULL-DAY DAYCARE: Kindergarten is not daycare, which is mainly socialization and play time. In full-day kindergarten, children learn.
The current 15 minutes a day for math, reading and science is not adequate enough to give students the head start they need.
It is difficult to gather 20-24 students, settle them down, and begin a lesson. Therefore, your 15 minutes allotted to learning is decreased.
Currently, half day is less than three hours long. School starts at 9:10 a.m. and ends at 11:58 a.m. Full day would extend the curriculum an additional three hours and 40 minutes.
MOST SYSTEMS NOW OFFER FULL-DAY K: More than 103 Connecticut school districts have full day kindergarten while less than 36 have half day.
Why are we behind? Why are our children, who live in an opulent town, suffering with a lacking education?
People can sign a petition
I've started the petition "Mayor Lauretti and the Board of Education: Initiate a Full Day Kindergarten," and need your help to get it off the ground.
Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here's the link:
Please take the time to sign and forward to as many Shelton parents as possible.
Lisa Czaplinski is a Shelton resident and the parent of two young children, including one already enrolled in the Shelton public school system.