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OPINION: Time for Full-Day Kindergarten in GT Schools

www.facebook.com/GTParents4FDK
www.facebook.com/GTParents4FDK
Please support "Gloucester Township Parents 4 Full-Day Kindergarten" (GTParents4FDK) and sign our petition to bring full-day kindergarten to Gloucester Township!  Simply click: http://chn.ge/1f64rTK

It’s time for Gloucester Township to join the 77% of New Jersey children who have access to full-day kindergarten.  Gone are the days of finger-painting and nap time for our 5 year-olds starting their academic journey.  Early childhood education has evolved.  Educators, held to mandated curriculum standards, are teaching the “basics” earlier and earlier.  The benefits of this early education have been touted by scores of academic studies.  Stronger abilities in math, science, reading, greater creativity, and higher long-term achievement have been demonstrated again and again.  The majority of towns across New Jersey, seeing the benefits, have implemented full-day kindergarten.  Only 23% have failed to do so; Gloucester Township is part of that 23%.  As the 77% advance at this critical time in a child’s education, our children are lagging behind.      
 
Over the last two decades, Gloucester Township’s kindergarten program has been whittled down to a mere 2 ½ hours per day.  Our great educators are not given the time and resources necessary to keep up with the academic advancements associated with full-day programs.  Children learn best when they are at play.  The 2 ½ hour “half-day” program does not allow for this essential playtime and social interaction.  Teachers are forced to cram a full day’s worth of material into a short period of time, leaving the children and parents inundated with homework at night.  Under this current model, many parents find their children are not adequately prepared to succeed in 1st grade.  

Opponents say it is the parents’ responsibility to pick up where the schools leave off.  In a perfect world, agreed!  Unfortunately we live in hard economic times where both parents are forced to work long hours or a single parent has multiple jobs to make ends meet.  This has become the norm – not the exception.  For many parents, there is barely enough time to feed and bathe their children, before collapsing into bed in utter exhaustion.  So the question remains: whose responsibility is it to educate our children?  The answer is: The entire community.

What are the obstacles in making full-day kindergarten a reality?  The ongoing response has been money and classroom space.  The Gloucester Township School District has a large kindergarten enrollment and expanding the existing program would come with a price tag.  Classroom space and funding are significant obstacles, but these hurdles are not insurmountable.  Scores of other school districts have found creative ways to overcome these challenges.  Our children are worth the challenge!  Our children deserve the same educational opportunities as the 77% who attend full-day kindergarten.    
 
It’s time for Gloucester Township Schools to bring full-day kindergarten to our community, so our children are not left behind.

Please sign our petition: http://chn.ge/1f64rTK   
Follow us on Twitter: @GTParents4FDK
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GTParents4FDK
Stacey Friedlander February 24, 2014 at 10:25 AM
Dear friends in Glouster: You are NOT alone - https://www.facebook.com/groups/FullDayK4Bridgewater/ Let's come together and help each other along the way! Please visit our FB group for some great resources!! We'll sign your petition if you sign ours! Happy to post in our group!
GT Parents February 24, 2014 at 10:48 AM
Stacey, Forward the link to your petition. We would be happy to lend our support. GT Parents 4FDK
Stacey Friedlander February 24, 2014 at 10:49 AM
Hi GT: Here it is -- http://www.change.org/petitions/future-superheroes-bridgewater-raritan-board-of-education-be-the-superheroes-our-children-deserve-make-full-day-kindergarten-a-reality?utm_source=guides&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_created Just posted yours in our Facebook group!

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