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Deciding Between Half-Day Or Full-Day Nursery School

As full day kindergarten becomes the norm in Canada, you may be wondering whether you should be sending your nursery school-aged child to a full day or half day program. School psychologists have found benefits to both types of programs, with a leaning towards full-day programs. However, whether your child will be reap the benefits of a full-day program is based on you, your child, and the center where you enroll them. Here are some factors that you should keep in mind while you make your decision. 

Does the program make use of longer days? 

Not every nursery school program is the same. Programs that rely on worksheets, quiet playtime, and large group activities can be exciting for children, but they can also be exhausting. On the other hand, the Montessori school method allows for plenty of individual learning time and experiential play. Children usually find this type of activity invigorating rather than draining and so they can benefit from a full-day program. Additionally, full-day programs should have designated nap times and alternate quiet and loud activities to allow for normal fluxes in energy. 

You can tell if your child is benefiting from a full-day program if your child seems alert and communicative when you pick them up. If they are often tired at the end of the day, or have no interesting in discussing their activities with you, then you might consider switching them to a half-day program. 

Will your child miss out if they go home early? 

If your child is enrolled in a class where most of his or her classmates stay for the entire day, then he or she may feel left out when you come to pick them up. Similarly, if a full-day program always schedules certain activities during the half of the day when your child is not there, your child may miss out on critical social and physical experiences. 

If you are able to enroll your child in a class that consists mostly of half-day students, then they will feel less like they are missing out. If you have to enroll your half-day child in a full-day program, then you should check to make sure that the school rotates activities to give your child a wide variety of experiences. 

Will your child's time at home be as fun and productive as their time at school? 

If you work full-time, then full-day school may be the best way to give your child healthy experiences with trained educators. However, if you or another dedicated caregiver is able to be home with your child, and give them attention, then your child may do fine in a half-day class. 

If your child is in a half-day class, you may want to consider implementing the Montessori method in your home. This will extend your child's educational time and create a consistency between home and school. 

Does your child have a healthy sense of attachment? 

Young children, especially those with special needs, may still be forming an attachment with their primary caregiver when they reach nursery school age. This attachment is critical for healthy functioning, both in school right now and later in life. If you and your child are still working to form an attachment, it may be better to send your child to a half-day program and spend more time one-on-one at home. 

Often times, a full-day nursery program is better for both the parents and their children. It gives children time to learn and to socialize while parents are able to work, do chores, and have some time to themselves. However, only you, along with your child's teacher, can decide if your child is ready for full-day classes.