All-day kindergarten not compulsory
I would like to offer a rebuttal to Mr. Nilssen’s letter to the editor regarding the Douglas County School District’s implementation of full-day kindergarten.
It seems Mr. Nilssen hasn’t reviewed the Common Core State Standards adopted by Nevada in 2010, which significantly increases the requirements in reading and writing for not only kindergarten, but also first and second grade. No longer is kindergarten simply about finger-painting and learning shapes. Meeting these new standards in the half-day format, which only allows for a little more than two hours of instruction, is unlikely especially when considering this is often the first educational experience for most students. A full-day class allows teachers to cover the necessary material with greater depth and to do so at a pace that is appropriate for the 5-6-year-old learner. The additional time in the classroom is imperative to reach the standards for kindergarten, as well as to establish a foundation necessary in order to meet the standards in subsequent years.
The good news for Mr. Nilssen is that he can avoid the “expanding government taking away our freedom.” Education is not compulsory in Nevada until age 7, so that he still has the option to have his 5-year-old children learn at home with loving parents, and to shun the “free day care” of full-day kindergarten.
I applaud the school district for implementing the program across the county, and believe it will benefit the students for the remainder of their school careers.