To the Editor:
As a new resident of Bridgewater Township, I was disappointed to learn my new town is one of only three districts in Somerset County that have not implemented full-day kindergarten. We moved to Bridgewater with the expectation that a town with so many great strengths and qualities would undoubtedly give our daughter the opportunity to keep up with the increased expectations of academic achievement. Sadly, we learned that despite these increased academic expectations, the Bridgewater kindergarten school day has remained the same.
The advent of the Common Core and increased educational standards has made kindergarten the academic starting point for our children that will build the foundation for future learning. It is impossible to meet today’s standards in a two-and-a-half hour school day without compromising essential social and intellectual learning time, or creating a stressful learning environment that may not be developmentally appropriate for 5- and 6-year-olds.
With the recent federal initiative to implement universal pre-k and encourage full-day kindergarten, it is baffling why a once highly regarded school such as Bridgewater would delay, and ultimately remove, full-day kindergarten as a goal for 2017. This does not reflect well on our community’s commitment to education, and therefore it is hard to imagine our educators, administrators and board members not supporting this change.
Devon Caughey Vallario