What Montana teachers say
about full-time kindergarten
Rod Gottula, Billings, high school English and reading teacher:
"First, attendance will be optional. Second, full-day kindergarten
doesn't mean that five-year-olds will be stuck in desks all day.
Kids can still be kids. They'll still have time to play, color,
and cut and paste, but they will also be actively engaged and learning
the basic skills required to succeed at the upper grade levels.
"As an educator and a parent of two young children, I do not
want my son and daughter denied the opportunity of full-day kindergarten."
Kristina Briney, Pablo, full-time kindergarten teacher:
"It's easy to say the day would be too long for kindergarteners,
but watching these kids and the progress they've made might allow
you to see just how content they really are.
"These kids are still given the opportunity for play and exploration
but with educational materials that enhance their social skills
and knowledge while encouraging problem solving."
Terri Middagh, Helena, full-time kindergarten teacher, Bryant
School: "The rewards have been positive in all aspects. Attendance
has increased dramatically. The school has seen a decrease in remedial
programs, behavioral problems, and special education referrals."
Kathy Briney, Pablo, music teacher: "I had my qualms
about it at first. I thought it was all-day babysitting, but it's
not. This is the first year full-time kindergarten students have
rotated into my music classes. I'm able to do so much more. [The
children] are more academically prepared. Their focus and attention
span are greatly improved, and I think it's because of this program."
Coleene Torgerson, Bigfork, teacher for 22 years, kindergarten
teacher for 17 years, full-time kindergarten teacher for 3 years:
"After teaching full time kindergarten for three years, I would
not consider going back to teaching half day sessions.
"My students are so much more grounded, flexible, confident
and prepared when they enter first grade. In three years, I have
not had a child who could not handle the full day. Parents have
been very supportive and satisfied."
Joan Howell, Pablo, full-time kindergarten teacher: "Kindergarten
children need to play; they need to move. In half-day programs,
those things were pushed aside because of the focus on academics.
Writing and fine motor skills are not developed when children don't
have time to play with play-dough and string beads."