PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION!!! - click here.
BUILD A LIFEBOAT.
The world does not need traumatized children
who have been trained to perform.
What the world needs is children who can
think creatively, problem solve, and cope with stress.
In turn, all the children need is: a childhood.
Preserving choice for parents and children.
The focus of HalfDayKindergarten.Org is the preservation of parental choice, and the prevention of a mandated full-day kindergarten.
March, 2011 -
Thank you for coming, and for all your good work. Together, we are building a lifeboat…
February, 2011 -
Almost five years have passed since the inception of HalfDayKindgerten.Org During this time, we have had some wonderful supporters find us, comment, and sign the petition, below. (Thank you!) We have not advertised HalfDayKindergarten.Org until now. The time is coming to take action…
Instead of addressing curriculum quality, and allowing for developmental needs, our schools are trying to improve student performance through actions such as: extending the school year, lengthening the school day, increasing homework, and lowering enrollment age through “Universal Preschool,” and mandated full-day kindergarten…
When talk of phasing out half-day kindergarten first arose at our school, we targeted our local school as the problem. This is difficult thing for parents who are trying to support their children’s education, and for people who have made friends with teachers and administrators. We applaud our faculty and staff for all they have done through difficult times. We want to thank them and respect their good work. They do good work!
To our relief, it did not take long to see we needed to look at the problem on the national level. We also noticed several friends opting for full-day kindergarten. Of course, they would. They are dual income families; Mum and Dad have to work. An ever-present message was heard: What else can we do? That got us looking to Quality of Life Issues.[A] While schools are trying to point the finger at parents – to make them more “accountable” for student performance – government is shirking the root of the problem: an excessive cost of living…
“The United States is not as workplace family-oriented as many other wealthy countries. According to a study released by Harvard and McGill University researchers in February 2007, workplace policies for families in the U.S. are weaker than those of all high-income countries and even many middle-and low-income countries.”[A]
“The feeling that simply working hard is not enough anymore is acknowledged by many . . . American workers. ‘To get ahead, a seventy-hour work week is the new standard. What little time is left is often divvied up among relationships, kids, and sleep.’ This increase in work hours over the past two decades means that less time will be spent with family, friends, and community as well as pursuing activities that one enjoys and taking the time to grow personally and spiritually.”[A]
Children need more family time at home, and not longer days at school. We all know the role of household economics and the media in this; generally speaking, the media pushes us. It winds up the machine that crushes us. There is little or no support for the average American family trying to… just live… period. The situation is quite the contrary.
It is understood that some parents might choose a full day school because for whatever reason that is what works for them. If only the full day was developmentally geared and play-based the children could spend their days… as children… This is not the case. Children need less structure and more free play. There is important work being done in free play. The American Academy of Pediatrics stresses play for healthy development. Hurried lifestyle and heavy academic, extracurricular load is taking a toll; balance is needed.
As parents who do not opt for universal preschool or mandated full-day kindergarten, we feel the government has turned its back on us… The modern American way of life is costing us our children in the form of mandated full-day kindergarten and universal preschool. Our government officials say they want to fix the broken family… when instead they are part of our downfall… by hiding the causes of the problems and diverting attention away from what most needs fixing: our economy, basic life values, and the effectiveness of our curriculum. We need to deeply and profoundly connect our youngest children to family and nature. Instead, we are alienating them.
Many families are scrambling for options… In order to avoid the early institutionalization of their children, American families – both dual and single income families – are being pushed out of public schools into private schools and play-based day care programs. In an attempt to save their children from an “irresponsible institutionalization,”[B] families end up paying for public school (in taxes) plus private school, which by the way, adds even more burden to the cost of living.
Raising children at home is quickly becoming logistically impossible.
Home schooling looks like it could be a panacea for anyone who can find a way to stay home with the children – were it not for the fact that even home schooling looks to be under fire.[C] Our government is treading on parents’ freedom and rights to raise their own children!
There is no substitute for parents, family caregivers, or loving guardians… “…there is actually a tremendous amount of evidence that early schooling can be harmful to children . . . ‘There is a large body of evidence indicating that there is little if anything to be gained by exposing middle-class children to early education. . . . Those who argue in favor of universal preschool education ignore evidence that indicates early schooling is inappropriate for many four-year-olds and that it may even be harmful to their development.’ Abundant evidence supports that conclusion . . . Conversations [children] have at home may be the richest source of linguistic and cognitive enrichment for children from all but the most deprived backgrounds. . . Premature schooling can potentially slow or reduce a child’s overall development by replacing valuable play time.”[Olsen: Zigler, B]
“When we instruct children in academic subjects . . . at too early an age, we miseducate them; we put them at risk for short-term stress and long-term personality damage for no useful purpose. There is no evidence that such early instruction has lasting benefits, and considerable evidence that it can do lasting harm. . . When children receive academic instruction too early (generally before age six or seven), they are put at risk for no apparent gain. By attempting to teach the wrong things at the wrong time, early instruction can permanently damage a child’s self-esteem, reduce a child’s natural eagerness to learn, and block a child’s natural gifts and talents. If we do not wake up to the potential danger of these harmful practices, we may do serious damage to a large segment of the next generation.”[Olsen: Elkind, B]
“Put simply, it is not the province of the state to educate young children.” Darcy Olsen [B]
“Every parent knows that children are as individual as their fingerprints — no centralized program can take their individual needs into account… Any such program would run the risk of barring child care that parents have found effective. Some child advocates argue that child care is good because it is an avenue of intervention in the lives of children from disadvantaged backgrounds… Other advocates argue that mother care is better than day care and that any intervention should help families stay afloat financially so the mother can care for the children at home…”[D]
“One thing is clear: there is no consensus, scientific or political, on what is best for every child. That makes sense to parents who know firsthand that every family and every child have unique needs. Congress and the administration should acknowledge those facts — that is, they should recognize that the push for national standards is politically driven and scientifically unfounded. They should further respect the fact that 96 percent of parents are satisfied or very satisfied with their current child care arrangements.” [D]
“As Winston Churchill admonished, ‘If you don’t look the facts in the face, they have a way of stabbing you in the back…’ Congress and the administration should recognize that the push for national standards is politically driven and scientifically unfounded…”[D]
Again, the question arises: What else can we do? Outside of verbal protest and dissemination of information against today’s American way of life, the only course of action would seem to be to build something new:
We are building a lifeboat against universal preschool and mandated full-day kindergarten in order to combat a degrading quality of life, and save our children.
We are together building: Something New… Please: stay tuned; read our links, footnotes, and works cited: support your local home schoolers… Use the quick link to write your congressman online — it takes only a few seconds.[E] Please do keep passing along the HalfDayKindergarten.Org site and petition, below… Thank you.
Preserving choice for parents and children.
October, 2007 -
The focus of HalfDayKindergarten.Org is the preservation of parental choice, and the prevention of a mandated full-day kindergarten. We started as a small group of parents who chose to inform themselves, and now wish to provide what we have found to all concerned with this issue.
HalfDayKindergarten.Org sees childhood as a process in which we must all engage in order to have happy, healthy, and productive lives. The argument to save the half-day kindergarten option is a behavioral one. Studies, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, show a five-year-old in free unstructured play is busy doing important developmental work, which must not take a back seat to academic test scores .
This is not a judgment on day care, or on parents who opt for full-day programs. This is about giving children a chance to play, to at least balance time spent in academic or structured time. It is about not giving the government control over parents’ rights to raise their children as they see fit. Take those rights away, and we not only flatten society and move toward a socialist state, but we fail to act in our children’s best interests .
Without a healthy childhood, we create adults who cannot cope, and who never complete the process of becoming a whole person. Unfortunately, today, too many politicians and school administrators are concerned only about student performance, more specifically, pushing students further academically no matter what the cost.
Why is this happening? Behold, backdoor social programs; the government is going to raise the bar with a blanket approach at the expense of those that don’t need or want social programs. A second pressure stems from other countries, which are outperforming America, even though their students spend significantly less time in school . Instead of fine-tuning the tool, (curriculum), the American politicians and school administrators are bashing it harder, lengthening the school day, and forcing the students into compliance. This is the point where healthy children become stressed, where families suffer, and childhood is wasted on bureaucracy. Children are becoming numbers used to validate budget lines. We are trading their childhoods in for funding administrative decisions. In some cases, the gains simply fund more administration.
School administrators tell us that “studies show” that children are doing better for all this elongated curricula. Studies show, however, that any marginal gains achieved are gone by fifth grade . Studies show, there is also damage . How is it that this information takes a back seat to the possibility of more federal funding? What we have here is a case of Wag the Dog*. Full day Kindergarten is only so, because they say it is so. We should instead be working on curriculum reform , adopting successes that work abroad, not turning early education and childcare into a business that profits towns at the cost of childhood itself.
Sign the petition on this website. Give families a choice.
 American Academy of Pediatrics
“NEW AAP REPORT STRESSES PLAY FOR HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT Hurried lifestyle and heavy academic, extracurricular load taking toll; balance is needed”
 “A basic question in need of answering is how to retain the right of kindergarten children to have a distinctly human, caring and satisfying learning experience in school while keeping open the possibility for great expectations in their lives. This question is central to our thinking about the full-day kindergarten because there are political pressures on kindergarten teachers to use the additional time to create a workbook-oriented program devoted mainly to teaching the three R’s as separate subjects an in a linear way. In my opinion, such a program is a sanctioned form of child abuse.” Fromberg, D.P. (1995) The Full-Day Kindergarten: Planning and Practicing a Dynamic Themes Curriculum (2 nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press
 http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/Tiedotteet/2007/09/OECD_Education_at_a_glance.html?lang=en “Educational level of young Finns near top world level . . . Finnish educational expenditure per student just over OECD average . . . In absolute terms, the highest amount of money per student is spent in the USA, Switzerland, and Norway. In Finland, educational expenditure as a percentage of GDP is somewhat below the OECD average. Measured in relative terms, the countries that spend the most on education are Israel, Iceland, and the USA.
Although educational expenditure in Finland is average for a western European country, it ranks very highly in terms of efficiency. High numbers of young people in Finland choose to study, and grades for compulsory education, for instance, are among the best in the world.
Basic education gets top results with a minimum of teaching
. . . Despite the shorter teaching time, Finland regularly achieves top results in studies such as the PISA survey.”
“You can find lots of anecdotal studies saying, ‘Oh, at the end of kindergarten these kids have a benefit,’ but the important studies are what do they look like in third grade,” said Darcy Olsen, president of the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank in Phoenix. “The truth is that the kids in half-day programs look exactly the same as the ones who attended full-day programs.” http://www.americandaily.com/article/17601
“This study reinforces the findings of earlier studies that suggest full-day kindergarten programs may not enhance achievement in the long term. Furthermore, this study raises the possibility that full-day kindergarten programs may actually be detrimental to mathematics performance and to nonacademic readiness skills.
“the short-run impact of full-day kindergarten has depreciated considerably by the end of first grade” “The rationale for full-day kindergarten is that the more time children spend in school, the more they will learn, the researcher writes. But, detractors warn that an early emphasis on academic learning, at the expense of play time, could harm children emotionally and academically.”
“Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs, and Other Parent Substitutes” by Mary Eberstadt offers evidence that children who are “institutionalized” at an early age develop a lessened ability to relate with peers, emotional problems like depression, and score lower on standardized tests.”
Dear Friends of HalfDayKindergarten.Org,
By signing this petition, you are asking for the Half Day Kindergarten Option to continue to be made available to parents, and opposing a Mandate for Full Day Kindergarten. By signing this petition, you support parents’ right to choose the manner in which their five-year-old child will be cared for.
Please sign the online petition below to support Half Day Kindergarten Options. Please help spread the word to all your friends and family!
Thank you very much!