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Full-Day Kindergarten to be Offered in September, Details Tonight

A presentation will be held tonight (Jan. 29) at 6:30 p.m. at the Memorial School.

Memorial School, Medfield. Credit: Patch file photo.
Memorial School, Medfield. Credit: Patch file photo.

The Medfield School Committee voted unanimously to support the expansion of Full Day Kindergarten for the 2014-2015 school year.  

A meeting for parents of incoming Kindergarten students will be held tonight (Jan. 29, 2014) from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial School cafeteria. 

During a presentation made to the school committee last week, Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Marsden said that 87 percent of students in Massachusetts attend a full-day Kindergarten program while only 12 percent of Medfield students do. 

There are 242 communities throughout the Commonwealth that offer tuition-free Kindergarten, 89 communities offer the program for a fee (including Medfield), and 20 communities do not offer it at all. 

Marsden said that 11 out of the top 15 school districts in a recent Boston Magazine article, offer full-day Kindergarten. 

The effects of a full-day program can be seen in third grade students, he said. 

"If you look at the districts that are [rated in Boston Magazine] 1 to 15, and you look at their third grade Language Arts scores, every single one of those districts have the percent of "advanced and proficient" in the 80s and 90s...We're in the mid-70s," Marsden said. 

Currently, Medfield offers the program for 15 "model" students with a tuition of $4,500 per year; there are more than 50 students on the waiting list for the program.

Marsden told the school committee that, in a recent survey of preschool parents, 74 percent of those parents said they are interested in a full-day program, 26 percent said they were not interested.

"Probably 50 percent of those comments [parents who said no] dealt with 'I'm all for it, I just don't want to pay for it," Marsden said. 

Medfield Kindergarten students will still be offered the half-day program, if parents feel that is a better fit for their child. 

"We're not forcing folks into a full-day Kindergarten if they don't want that, we still have the half-day model," he said. 

Here are the numbers:

Half-Day Kindergarten

  • 2.5 Hours (85 minutes) a day, 425 hours a year instruction
  • 10 minutes for entry
  • 30 minutes for specials
  • 5 minutes transition (specials)
  • 10 minutes for snack
  • 10 minutes for dismissal

Full-Day Kindergarten

  • 6 Hours (230 minutes) a day, 912 hours a year instruction
  • 10 minutes for entry
  • 40 minutes for specials
  • 10 minutes transitions (lunch, recess, specials)
  • 10 minutes for snack
  • 25 minutes for lunch
  • 25 minutes for recess

Medfield is proposing a tuition next year of $3,500 per year with a plan to eventually assume the cost in the school department budget. 

Tuitions charged in other towns in the area include: 

  • Canton $3,500
  • Dedham $3,400
  • Holliston $4,000
  • Hopkinton $4,000
  • Medway $3,400
  • Millis $3,100
  • Norfolk $3,600
  • Walpole $3,800
  • Westwood $1,800 (they are part of a state grant that is no longer available)
  • Wrentham $3,500 

Tuition would cover the costs of materials and hiring additional teachers. 

"We would add 2.5 teachers and then also add additional staff and aides, and would have to add additional time with specialists," Marsden said, noting an enrollment of at least 60 students should cover the costs. 

For more information, attend tonight's meeting or view the Kindergarten presentation HERE

When can you register? 

Registration materials will be available online starting Thursday, Jan. 30.  For more information, visit the Memorial School Kindergarten Registration webpage.

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