Kindergarten Start Times

Cassandra Bush 6, Journalist

We now have new information about full day kindergarten from a presentation presented at the school board meeting. But first, what is the story of full day kindergarten in LMSD? It seems from what I have read, there has never been a full day kindergarten in LMSD. Parents think that full day kindergarten would help their kids learn much more. This has rubbed parents the wrong way, and a petition has been started. Now, at the January 23 school board meeting, we have gotten updates. Dr. McGloin, the assistant superintendent, presented a powerpoint detailing the current timeline for the project, and it looks as if full day kindergarten may be on the horizon. So, let’s get right into it!

It was estimated in the Oct/Nov presentation that Belmont Hills would need 1 extra classroom for full-day-kindergarten students, 4 extra classrooms would be needed in Cynwyd, and 3 more each in Gladwyne, Merion, and Penn Valley, totaling 17 additional classrooms. There is hope, though, the more recent MCPC report says Belmont Hills would need no additional classrooms, Cynwyd, Penn Valley, and Penn Wynne would need 2 extra classrooms, Merion would need 3, and Gladwyne would need 4, totaling only 13. Full day kindergarten would require new classrooms or new strategies for kid structuring in classrooms. It would cost a significant amount of money to add classrooms. Furthermore, if construction took place during the school year, it might block off classrooms or sections of hallway from students, possibly lowering the number of available classrooms even more.

With more classrooms and more students, more teachers would be needed. This would cost more for the school to hire, pay, and compensate them. For every extra classroom, there would need to be a teacher to teach the class, thus amounting to 13 new teachers for the new classrooms, according to the report. And since one teacher could no longer teach two classes, an AM and a PM, additional teachers are needed, thus bringing the total of additional staff needed to 17 full time employees.

Full day kindergarten is deeply wanted, but it may not come to fruition. It would need classroom restructuring and a lot of hiring. This would be costly, but the board is scoping out what they could do, and in fall a budget will be made. We can hope or pray, but it will be the budget that will make or break full-day-K.