Key Coverage

The Half-day Kindergarten Time Crunch

About 75 percent of kindergartners nationwide are enrolled in full-day programs, three times the rate of a few decades ago, as many school districts have come to view kindergarten as an academic starting point, rather than a practicing ground for the rhythms and routines of school. But that leaves about a million students for whom kindergarten still lasts just a few hours a day.

That partial day represents a time crunch as teachers try to keep up with more challenging lessons. Rigorous Common Core standards are rolling out in 46 states, applying uniform expectations for the first time in kindergarten days that range from two to seven hours long.