Task Force Looks at Full Day Kindergarten in Town

By Alex Malm

The Kindergarten Committee had a presentation at the Sept. 20 School Board meeting for a full day kindergarten.
Interim Superintendent, Dan Black, said the possibility of a full day kindergarten is something they have been exploring for a few years.
During the presentation, one of the items pointed out was that over 90 percent of the students across the state have access to full day kindergarten. There were only six districts, including Londonderry, that have half day kindergarten currently.
Black explained the topic of kindergarten is something that has been pushed for the past four or five years ever since the governor was told by businesses that they wanted to see full day kindergarten before bringing businesses to the granite state. Since then, school districts have been rabidly implementing full day kindergarten.
Another thing pointed out by Black was that one of the things all day kindergarten would help with is to accomplish the goal of matching the learning standards to international standards.
“We’re trying to make sure our kids are ready for a globally competitive world,” said Black.
Barbara Curro, a teacher at Moose Hill and a member of the Kindergarten Task Force Committee, said that right now one of the issues with half day kindergarten is having to limit things because of time constraints.
“We currently have to try to squeeze tiny segments and pieces of science and social studies,” said Curro.
It was pointed out by School Board Chair, Amy Finamore, that the earliest it would be able to get on the ballot is March of 2024. There would be enough time to solicit public feedback.
Black noted it would be a major investment by the town if they were to move forward with all day kindergarten.
“This would be a big investment, there’s no doubt about it,” said Black.
School Board member, Bob Slater, stated they need to get to the point where the community can make a decision on it with all the information being available to them. He wants them to come to a decision as soon as possible.
“I just don’t want to see it be put on a shelf,” said Slater.
It was also pointed out by Black they are going to be decreasing bond payments in upcoming years.
“We are in a good position for cutting costs there,” said Black.
Slater asked about what happens for parents who don’t want their child to be in all day kindergarten.
Black explained they would look into the details for having a half day option still and noted that it isn’t required to do full day kindergarten in NH.
“If they don’t want to be part of a full day program they don’t have to be,” said Black.
It was explained that they want to compile feedback from people in the community and would be encouraging people to watch the presentation from the school board meeting.
People can fill out the survey by going to www.londonderry.org.

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