Full day learning in junior kindergarten

by Amanda My son J is turning 5 this month.  This past September brought about a huge change in his life.  He started junior kindergarten (JK).  His school was one of the first to introduce Full Day Learning in JK.  I was concerned at first that this would be too much for such a little person.  I was worried that the afternoon might essentially be a waste because he would be too tired to learn anything since he was used to napping for at least 2 hours in the PMs.  I have been pleasantly surprised.  Maybe for the first month this was the case.  Most of the kids seemed to be falling asleep on the floor during quiet time and so was he, until about mid-October.  Around this time, he stopped napping altogether.  Instead, he was falling asleep in his dinner!  This lasted maybe for a couple of weeks and then it was done.  The nap was gone and he was fully adjusted to going to school full time.

He has come a long way in his learning since starting school.  It has been a really good experience for him.  He had good skills going in, he could identify most of the letters, could count at least to 15, and had no issues with speech and language as a preschooler.  His language developed, in my opinion, normally, once he started talking, there was no way to make him stop!

The curriculum has been very appropriate for him.

They have covered the different seasons:

They have learned the days of the week, months of the year and all major holidays.

They learned about animals and hibernation, migration, and adaptation.

His class learned about a foreign country - Guyana, and students were asked to bring in socks and shoes to donate since those items are not easily accessed in that country.

He is also really enjoying French time.  His articulation is really good and he has an amazing memory, so he is retaining many of the words he has learned.  We have two cats so he is quite fond of the words "chat et lion".

Mon gars, il adore les chansons en français ie."Tête, épaules, genoux, orteilles", et aussi il a bien aimé l'histoire "Petit poulet" que l'éducatrice a racontée.  Their most recent unit was all about fairy tales.  They watched the movie Rapunzel and J particularly enjoyed The Three Little Pigs.  From a science perspective, the kids had a presentation from "Scientists in Schools".  They did their own dinosaur dig, and got to see some experiments done in their classroom.  They watched things change colour and change states of matter.  J was super excited to tell me all about it when he came home that day.

On the social side of things, he has made some friends, loves to play Transformers with his two buddies during recess, he attended one birthday party and will soon be having one of his own.  At this point in time he is an only child, so I am thrilled that he is getting the hang of being around lots of kids and learning to communicate with them and problem-solve their day to day issues.  They have learned about Kelso's Choices, a problem-solving strategy for kids to use.  His teachers are telling me that he is using these strategies when a conflict arises, so I am quite happy about that.

As the end of the school year approaches he is now able to read Level 1 books with only some minor difficulties.  He can write his name not too badly, and is interested now more than ever in making crafts.  Before starting school he definitely did not have the attention span for those kinds of things.

Overall, as a parent, I really think the full day learning has been really good for my son. He was ready to go to school.  He is a like a little sponge and he just takes things and runs with them.  And he remembers what he has learned.  Like any other kid he needs some help and some prompts, but I am really glad to see that he has progressed this far and am very hopeful that SK will bring a similar experience.


Amanda was born and raised in Ottawa where she continues to live with her husband and son “J”. Amanda is bilingual and interests include reading, blogging, socializing, and advocacy on children and teen issues.