Central Unified seeks full day kindergarten

FRESNO, California

The district wants to do away with morning and afternoon classes and fast-track a full-day kindergarten. But meetings have yet to be scheduled to discuss the issue with teachers or parents.

Little Adriana Sinzun has so much energy it's tough to keep up with her. Her mother says she is looking forward to meeting new classmates and eventually taking on the traditional half-day of kindergarten. Erica Serna said, "I don't think it'll be a problem. She wants to start school already. She's been talking about it." Adriana added, "I love my kindergarten."

Central Unified parents who have kids entering kindergarten may be in for longer days. Superintendent Mike Berg says the district is pushing for a full-day kindergarten, meaning those morning and afternoon sessions would end. Berg explained, "Not to extend or increase the amount of material that we're implementing and providing to the kids but to provide greater period of time so the students don't feel rushed. While it is rigorous curriculum, it is curriculum that can be covered more thoroughly with time for small group opportunity."

Some Saroyan Elementary parents were surprised to see a letter stating, "Kindergarten may be moved to a full day schedule during the year."

The district has yet to schedule meetings with teachers and parents. Christa Lack of Fresno said, "If they're not ready for that it shouldn't be required because some kids can't do the full day like that."

Berg plans to meet soon with district teachers and hold public meetings so parents can air their concerns.

Full day kindergarten would then have to be approved by the school board. Superintendent Berg said, "We do plan to implement as early in the fall semester as we can and the latest at the mid-year semester break."

While the change could create some scheduling problems, Christa Lack believes many parents will go for full day kindergarten. Lack said, "Honestly I think most of them will prefer the full day because it does offer childcare in a sense and especially with the economy the way it is right now a lot of people, if they have jobs they want to keep their jobs, which means they want as many hours as they can get."

In pushing for the change, Superintendent Berg says while the educational standards for kindergarten have increased over the years, the traditional schedule has not changed.

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