• Are you a teacher? Join us! Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

Staggered Start in Kinder

Other 

readerleader

Senior Member
First, let me say that I am not a Kindergarten teacher. For many years now, we have done a staggered start for K. School usually starts on Wednesday in my district. So, a third of each K class attends Wednesday through Friday, with all attending the following Monday. A large number of our K student attended VPK AT OUR SCHOOL. The rest go to a nearby day care. Very few come to us with no school experience.

I don't see a need for this staggered start. If they come on Wednesday, they have forgotten whatever the teacher said by Monday. Or the parent insists they don't have childcare and they come all three days anyway. I think it would be better to use all three days as "practice days", then they would be ready for Monday.

Do other districts/states do this staggered start? I would be interested in the reasoning behind it.
 
Advertisement

luvtulearn

Senior Member
different factors

How many students in a class?

Is it all day or 1/2 day Kinder?

How many yard duties at lunchtime or recesses to assist?

How many ride the bus? How many pick-ups, Boys and Girls club, . outside day care. Bus tags need to be made that day.

How many special needs , IEP , etc. . . ?

Do the teachers meet with these parents after school for a meeting?

I wish our district would have minimum day the first week of kinder. Dismissal, lunches, and arrivals are too chaotic .
 

kahluablast

Senior Member
Our kinders come in for a 20 minute visit before the first day. They all start together on Friday (today).

I imagine it is nice for the teachers to have a small group to take to recess, get to and from pick up and drop off, and to aid for lunch. It would ease a lot of kids fears and hopefully parents.

However, some should not get to go all 3 days just because parents whine.
 

LaFish

Senior Member
Smart start

When I taught K we did a Smart Start on a Monday-Wednesday and all K students came on Thursday & Friday. It all started with a new screening instrument the state mandated. When Covid started the entire district (k-12) moved to Smart Start.
 

all41

Senior Member
Kindergarten First Day

The district I teach in has all Kinders start the first day however, it is a very small district and usually about 6-8 students a class. There might be 1 student who attends a preschool, a couple who go to the home daycare in town that is not at all structured like a school, and the rest are at home because parents don't work or they stay with grandparents who also live in the home. These 6-8 students do not come to Kindergarten with school experiences and we do not have any para help. The first week or 2 is chaotic.

The district my kids attended had a staggered start the first 3 days. The teacher met with 3-4 families for a couple hours. The families went on a school tour, got on a school bus, and went through a practice lunch line for a snack. Then teacher met with parents while kids played with the para. During this playtime the reading and math specialist would pull 1 student at a time to do a pre-screening assessment. Each class usually had 16-20 students and there were 3 classrooms of Kindergarten students. About 90% of these students were in the school based daycare or other formal daycare center with a preschool setting. It was still chaos the first couple weeks.

I understand and support a staggered start for Kindergarten.
 

sevenplus

Senior Member
Kindergarten is a different beast. Our students come to us with limited school experience and more than half don't speak English. We used to do a staggered start and I miss it tremendously.

We have 27 in a class. We have to show them e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
How to use the paper towel dispenser.
How to walk in a line.
How to pick up food at lunch.
How to open their lunches.
How to use a glue stick.
Playground rules.
Playground boundaries.
How to put a folder in their backpack.
How to put on their nametag.

The list goes on and on and on.

When all 27 show up at once on the first morning it is stressful for students and teachers. They don't know where to sit, what to do with their backpacks, lunches, and the 83 pounds of supplies that they're lugging. Some are experiencing separation anxiety, some walk in with breakfast that they don't know how to open. It can be overwhelming.

Plus, dismissal can be insane on the first day of K. Doing it with 27 students (x 3 classes, so 81 students) is a nightmare.

Staggered start also allows them to try out more things in the classroom on the first day. I can rotate 9 students through stations, but not 27. I have the biggest student meltdowns when they see someone else doing something they want to and they don't yet understand that they'll get a turn 2 days from now.

We also have extensive one-on-one testing we're supposed to accomplish in the first days. Having smaller groups gives us a fighting chance at getting started with that. (It's still nearly impossible, though, because they don't know how to do anything independently while you test one.)

I don't know what you mean by forgetting what they were told. Yes, we'll practice everything again many, many times over the first weeks of school.

What in the world would a "practice day" accomplish?
 
Advertisement

Haley23

Senior Member
Having spent the afternoon in a Kindergarten class today, I can say that a staggered start would be immensely helpful. It really is herding cats in there- I don't know how people do this voluntarily LOL. The amount of effort it took just for the teacher to get them to do basic things, like wash hands and then sit on the carpet, was insane. At one point, one child was playing in the bathroom (the K classrooms have bathrooms in them) and when she stepped away from the carpet to address that child, 5-6 kids sitting on the carpet got up and tried to follow her.

It would definitely be easier to have days to practice those expectations and routines with 8-9 kids rather than 25! I could certainly see whining with parents wanting their kids to come all of the days, but I know at my school, if we had that expectation my P would enforce it.
 

Sbkangas5

Senior Member
I wish we had a staggered start. It would make the whole process so much better for everyone. Try visiting any kinder class on the first day and you'll understand. :p Sevenplus said it well - they have to be shown EVERYTHING, even if they've gone to daycare/preschool their whole lives. And I mean EVERYTHING.

The K motto for the first day is "Get them in, get them fed, get them home." That's a successful day! If I don't lose anyone I feel accomplished.
 

Tiamat

Senior Member
We don’t. Once they start, they’re all in, boots and all. It used to be that K would finish half an hour earlier than 1-6 for the first few weeks, but that’s gone, it seems. Kindergarten in my school this year was 6 children - the logistics would be very different in a town school.
 

wildflowerz

Senior Member
When all 27 show up at once on the first morning it is stressful for students and teachers. They don't know where to sit, what to do with their backpacks, lunches, and the 83 pounds of supplies that they're lugging. Some are experiencing separation anxiety, some walk in with breakfast that they don't know how to open. It can be overwhelming.

Plus, dismissal can be insane on the first day of K. Doing it with 27 students (x 3 classes, so 81 students) is a nightmare.

Staggered start also allows them to try out more things in the classroom on the first day. I can rotate 9 students through stations, but not 27. I have the biggest student meltdowns when they see someone else doing something they want to and they don't yet understand that they'll get a turn 2 days from now.

THIS is why all Kindergarteners should have the benefit of a staggered start, even if they have had school experience.

Dismissal alone is chaos, no matter how much they practice and prepare.

I don’t know how our K teachers survive the first few days. Luckily, when I taught K I only had 15 kids. It isn’t like that anymore.
 
Advertisement

 

Top