Kindergarten: Go all day

We support the Amherst School District’s plan to turn its half-day kindergarten program into a full-day one and we hope voters will do the same when it comes before them in March.

According to Gerard St. Amand, the principal of the Clark-Wilkins School, the full-day program would benefit Amherst kids because they’d be participating in the school system from the beginning, and the transition would be smoother. It would also be a boon to working parents.

It is generally agreed by educators the full-day kindergarten is better for children’s social, emotion and academic well-being, he said, so it would seem to make sense to move ahead with such a program.

Cost, of course, is always an issue for taxpayers, especially those on fixed incomes who must face the yearly, unforgiving property tax, but St. Amand pointed out that becuse overall district enrollments have been declining, Amherst would not have to build additional space for a full-day kindergarten program. That should ease some of the concern for taxpayers, although probably not all. There would, for instance, be additional cost for teachers but we think it would be well worth it.

Anything we can do to give kids a jump start on their education is a postive, we believe. The United States is no longer the world leader in education and if we are going to regain our place at the top, we have to take education seriously at the earliest age. Kindergarten is a good place to start.