Sample Psychology Paper on Effects of Full-Day Kindergarten

Effects of Full-Day Kindergarten

The past few decades have witnessed significant advances in ensuring a child is ready to enter school. Recent research indicates that the knowledge and skills a child possess when entering school is predictive of future success. As a result, parents, teachers, and education developers are shifting focus towards preparing children for school life starting from the kindergarten. Preparing children for school includes enhancing their cognitive, emotional, literacy, and social skills as well as physical development. The discrepancies manifested in the development of cognitive and social-emotional skills among students of different social classes has drawn attention from scientists, educationists, and parents. A section of the policymakers in the education matter has proposed enrollment in full-time kindergarten.

Proponents of full-time kindergarten assert that children acquire more knowledge and skills by spending a long time in the programs thus influencing their readiness at the primary level. On the other hand, critics argue against full-time kindergarten positing that it is cost-intensive to implement and besides the long-term benefits of the program are unwarranted (Hahn et al., 2014). This study seeks to establish the extent to which enrollment in full-time kindergarten (FDK) in comparison with half-day kindergarten (HDK), with particular interests to children from low-income and marginalized backgrounds, influences children’s readiness and success in primary and secondary and future life.

Rationale

Over recent decades, full-time kindergarten programs have grown in popularity. This growth is attributed to the shift in family dynamics and the engagement of parent is economic activities. It has also been linked to the recognition for the need to prepare children adequately for school as well as improve children equity. Proponents of FDK argue the program is a way of enhancing children’s preparation for school, while opponents contend that there are potentially harmful effects of FDK. The benefits of enrollment in the FDK program include greater academic achievement, easier transition into first grade, self-esteem, better socialization, increased learning opportunities for disadvantaged pupils, as well as improving the quality of education. On the contrary, negative impacts of FDK may include fatigue among children, limited parent involvement, high cost of implementation, growing unequal access to the program, as well as separation anxiety.

The research indicates that full-time kindergarten can positively influence a child’s development in both social and academic aspects. Besides, FDK has been positively identified with increased opportunities for learning among children from low-income families and academically disadvantages backgrounds. Research has also confirmed that full-day kindergarten has greater impacts on a child’s literacy skills compared to half-day kindergarten these meta-analysis results derive conclusions from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten that indicate positive correlation of full-time kindergarten programs with a positive gain of reading and math among children. This conclusion cements the positive outcome and short-term benefits of FDK. However, it has been established that the gains of FDK tend to diminish as time progresses. A study by Cooper and company identifies that the positive gains disappear completely by the time a pupil is entering the 4th grade (Cooper, Allen, Patall& Dent, 2010). A research conducted by Votruba-Drzal using the ECLS-L cohort data revealed that the positive influence of FDK programs disappears by the fifth grade mainly because of a steep academic trajectory growth (Cutuli et al., 2012). Rapid growth trajectory in HDK programs is also linked to cognitive stimulation that occurs at home environment.

The discrepancies in socio-economic backgrounds of children enrolled in FDK and HDK programs introduce a debate on the validity of FDK evaluations and reviews, which inspires the needs for a study design that will facilitate for strong causal inferences together with the long-term monitoring of FDK pupils (Rubin, 2005). This study seeks to address the inadequacies of previous research using official educational data from the Canadian province of Manitoba. The primary objective of this research is to ascertain whether FDK as compared with HDK is associated with long-term health benefits and general success in later life.

Methods

Data sources

Data for this study came from the Population Health Research Data Repository available at the Manitoba Centre of Health Policy, University of Manitoba. The repository contains information about education, social, and health services used by the entire population of the province of Manitoba. The specific datasets that influence this study include enrollment marks and assessment data from the provincial education department and the Manitoba population registry that is updated every six months to update the demographic information of pupils. Besides, the study utilizes information from the provincial social assistance data to map out students living in poverty, Canada census data to identify the area-level SES, as well as information from child welfare data to establish student population under children protection services(Brownell, Kozyrskyj, Fuchs & Santos, 2011).

In Manitoba, kindergarten is not compulsory. Nonetheless, it is universally available and attracts at least 98% of eligible children. A significant number of school divisions offer FDK in all schools, some FDK in target schools, and a considerable number offer HDK. The focus of kindergarten programs is play. Classroom programs vary consistently depending on the local needs such as learning English, multi-age classrooms, and students with special needs. The development of literacy and communication, cooperation, and problem-solving skills, as well as the use of technology, are crucial gauges used to measure children’s readiness for school and future life.

Study design

The research utilized Rubin’s Potential Outcome Framework as the primary study design. This framework considers two sets of potential outcomes among children-when one received FDK and when one received HDK. The differences between the two outcomes account for the differences in the impacts of FDK compared to HDK. The complications with this approach are that only one set of result can be obtained from the pupils, that is, if a child enrolled in FDK program, it is hard to measure the academic outcomes in an HDK program or the other way round.

Results

The research revealed that regardless of the class size, the kindergarten programs predict non-academic readiness skills among children. Attending full-time kindergarten revealed a negative association with the development of non-academic school readiness skills. From the study, it is evident that children from well-up families develop difficulties in self-control, interpersonal skills, and disposition towards than children attending HDK. It was however noticed that children attending FDK exhibited higher participation in activities that reinforce behavior internalization and externalization compared to pupils attending HDK.

Variations in the background indicated a positive predictive correlation with nonacademic school readiness skills. From the research, it is evident that children from well-up families, whose parent tend to be more involved with school matters display greater self-control, better social skills, and elevated attitudes towards learning. It was also established that ggreater involvement in extracurricular activities inspired motivation for learning while also reducing difficulties in internalizing behavior. The results from the study support the hypothesis that family backgrounds influence the acquisition of readiness skills among children.

Discussion

This research emerges as a major contributor to the examination of the long-term impacts of FDK compared to HDK programs beyond primary education. The study utilizes population-based administrative information to make a follow up on children from kindergarten up to grade 9. The study design allows stronger causal inferences compared to designs used to evaluate FDK previously. Upon evaluating the effects of FDK, the research revealed that the significant finding could lose its relevance if the research design adjusted for all confounders. This realization confirms the majority of American research findings that reveal no significant benefits of FDK programs compared to HDK programs.

Although researchers could be tempted to apply the evidence on the long-term benefits of pre-kindergarten to approximate the effects of FDK, it should be done cautiously to avoid generalizing preschool programs results to FDK programs because preschools accommodate pupils up to five years with access to some public schooling whether on HDK or FDK programs. FDK is cost intensive program to roll out, especially on a universal basis. Proponents of this approach need to consider whether the benefits outweigh the cost of implementation carefully. Alternatively, policymakers may consider focusing public funds with potential greater benefits to programs in the preschool period.

Conclusion

The findings of the research reveal that there is an apparent advantage of universal full-time kindergarten. However, targeted FDK programs have some benefits under various circumstances. Implementing full-time kindergarten programs in target low-income societies exhibited long-term development such as numeracy skills among low-income learners. Evidence from the research suggests that the potential long-term benefits on academics and future life of the FDK programs may be exaggerated.

 

 

References

Brownell, M., Kozyrskyj, A., Fuchs, D., & Santos, R. (2011). Using administrative data to study child health. Healthcare Policy | Politiques De Santé6(SP), 91-93. doi: 10.12927/hcpol.2011.22126

Cooper, H., Allen, A., Patall, E., & Dent, A. (2010). Effects of full-day kindergarten on academic achievement and social development. Review Of Educational Research80(1), 34-70. doi: 10.3102/0034654309359185

Cutuli, J., Desjardins, C., Herbers, J., Long, J., Heistad, D., & Chan, C. et al. (2012). Academic achievement trajectories of homeless and highly mobile students: resilience in the context of chronic and acute risk. Child Development84(3), 841-857. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12013

Hahn, R., Rammohan, V., Truman, B., Milstein, B., Johnson, R., &Muntañer, C. et al. (2014). Effects of full-day kindergarten on the long-term health prospects of children in low-income and racial/ethnic-minority populations. American Journal Of Preventive Medicine46(3), 312-323. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.12.003

Rubin, D. (2005). Causal inference using potential outcomes. Journal Of The American Statistical Association100(469), 322-331. doi: 10.1198/016214504000001880