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All-Day Kindergarten: Exhausting Or Energizing? - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

All-Day Kindergarten: Exhausting Or Energizing?

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Kindergartners around the area are getting used to their new school schedule, which is leaving them tired by the time they get home.

Back in may a bill was passed in Minnesota that requires public schools to switch to full day kindergarten in the next two years. Moorhead Public Schools voted to use district funding to start the program this fall.

But many parents argue their kindergartner is too tired by the end of a full day.

Valley News Live talked to area teachers as they explain the adjustments to the all day program.

"Our society is expecting more and more, and they want scores higher and it just gets pushed down." Jessica Molstre.

Jessica Molstre has been a teacher in Moorhead for 10 years. Most recently she's taught kindergarten.

A change in the Moorhead school district has some parents wondering when their child will get used to being in school, and stop being tired.

"There is an adjustment period, as even when kindergartners were becoming 1st graders and there was only a half day program, I'm sure there was a large adjustment from being half day to full day from going to kindergarten to first." Molstre says, "And now that kindergarten is full day there is going to be that same adjustment just getting used to school. And so to reassure parents I just tell them it takes time, any big change is going to take some time."

A day structured to help keep the kids learning during the whole day.

"We have a large block in the morning, that's kind of our core academic time, that's when the kids are the freshest, and built into my day there's movement every 20 minutes, we're getting up and moving all day long." Molstre explains.

But teachers recognize all the learning is tiring for young kids.

"They are tired and so we have that quiet time in the middle of the day to help them, and generally around January they have a switch and they can handle the full day all day without that quiet time." Molstre says.

All day kindergarten has been the norm in Fargo since 2008. Pat Pobsts says kids aren't used to being demanded so much from.

 "Kids do go home at 2:42 tired," Pobsts says "they've had a day that is full of activities, and full of friends"

But it's not just the teachers, psychologists agree that young kids will be exhausted from a full day of school.

"There is a lot expected of kids," Dr. Eileen Stone says, "they've got the academics and the social and just a lot of things where it's not just playing anymore, it's not just fun time they really are learning and getting into school."

"Defiantly it is hard for kids, and they will be exhausted, just like we are when we start work for the first time, I mean they are defiantly going to be exhausted." Kelly Olson a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Moorhead teachers say with the first year they've been working out the bumps with the all day program, but overall they feel it's only going to benefit the education of the kids.

"I feel like all day kindergarten will help transition to first grade in many ways. they are used to being here all day so they've already done lunch time, they get to have specials like music and health, and those things they wouldn't have in the half day program, so when they have them in first grade they already know how that transition and how that switch happens." Molstre says.

"With the full day you really are able to get to know your students, and get to know their needs, and what they need to be successful in 1st grade and 2nd grade and the following." Moorhead kindergarten teacher Megan Hilleren says.

Parents are advised to continue supporting their kindergartner as they continue learning.

"I think it is important is for parents to know how they can support their child in the kindergarten program, and I think one is to be real positive about what's happening in their day." Pobst says. "Another one is to talk about what is going on in their day put those iPads and computers down and help them know nothings more important than their child."

"Being involved, knowing your child's schedule is really important, trying to change your schedule at home is a good idea, being aware of important testing times where your child might need more sleep." Olson says.

And when kids come home from their demanding day at school, teachers say to give them a break, just as adults need after a day of work.

"They need to eat a snack, and they need to sit with somebody and visit and talk, and then do some play, and get outside and play, or inside and play. We encourage parents to have buddy's come over and do play dates, I think that's really important for them as well."

All things to do to support your child's education to help their future. 

"They can handle it, it might be overwhelming at first to think oh my 5 year old is in all day kindergarten, but it really is what's best for them." Hilleren says.

Moorhead public schools will be testing kindergarten students in the spring, to compare the difference between the old and new program.

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