Background and History
All Massachusetts school districts, by law, must provide kindergarten, taught by qualified and certified teachers, with a yearly minimum of 425 hours of instruction (about 2.5 hours per day). School attendance is compulsory for children starting at age 6. Each district can set a minimum age for when children are eligible for kindergarten. Like most districts, Winchester’s minimum age for kindergarten is 5. Parents can decide whether to enroll a child in public school at age 5 or at age 6.
Here is a link to the state laws about kindergarten:
Winchester first offered a 3-day, all-day program in 2009-2010. The three afternoon extended sessions are used to extend curriculum taught in the morning, not to introduce new topics.
Most districts in Massachusetts have 5-day, full-day kindergarten at no charge to parents.
Research and Facts about Kindergarten
Winchester educators are committed to providing full-day kindergarten students with a developmentally appropriate early childhood learning environment. Students learn reading, math, science, and other academic skills/content through exploration, play, and hands-on activities. Kindergarten provides a foundation for learning and supports students' healthy social and emotional development.
Here is a great link to the state's department of education's expectations for kindergarten:
The state social-emotional frameworks for kindergarten can be found here: http://www.doe.mass.edu/kindergarten/SEL-APL-Standards.pdf
Kindergarten Literature Analysis
Kindergarten Fact Sheet
Superintendent's Reports to School Committee
The school committee voted to implement five-day, full-day kindergarten (FDK) in the fall of 2017. The committee also voted to place a question before spring town meeting to ask that the cost for FDK be added to the school department budget to make FDK tuition-free. This request is for one-year bridge funding to start the program. In 2018-2019, Chapter 70 state aid to the town is likely to increase significantly, based on the FDK funding formula that adds funding for FDK students. In the event that town bridge-year funding is not available for 2017-2018, the school committee has approved a maximum FDK tuition of $2,200. A recent school department survey and public comment at school committee meetings both confirm strong levels of support for five-day, full-day kindergarten and the vote to implement FDK represents a very positive step for our students.
Options for Transition to Full-Day Kindergarten 12/27/17
Full-Day Kindergarten Survey Summary