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Scotia-Glenville forum dissects full-day kindergarten

As the Scotia-Glenville School District starts talking about moving from a transitional kindergarten program to full-day, parent are lining up with strong feelings on both sides of the issue.

Some parents of preschoolers have said they feel it will take away from the advantage of the transitional program. Others said it's time to mirror neighboring districts and implement a full-day program.

At a forum Thursday, Jan 15, more than 50 parents turned out to discuss the pros and cons of a full-day program.

Superintendent Susan Swartz withheld her opinion about a change in the kindergarten program at the Monday, Jan. 19, Board of Education meeting at the request of a board member who was uncomfortable speaking publicly before holding the forum. Swartz has said in the past that moving to a full-day program best reflects state standards and requirements, including required early literacy skills that are being introduced in kindergarten.

Swartz discussed those issues at the forum.

District mother Rene Curtin, whose daughter Emma will attend kindergarten in the fall, echoed the opinion of a number of people at the meeting when she said she likes the transitional program because it eases the students into a full-day setting.

I like the idea of starting half day and then working up to attending a traditional school day, said Curtin.

Curtin's son Nathan attended transitional kindergarten last year, and Curtin said the transitional program was one of the things that attracted her to the district. She also said that she can see where a full-day program would improve their readiness for the requirements of first grade.

Some parents of children in full-day preschool programs said the current program does not provide consistency, with children going back to a half day at the start of the year before returning to a full day in January.

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