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Full-Day Preschool vs. Half-Day Preschool

Preschool pirates group

If your young learner is old enough for school, you may be considering full-day preschool or half-day preschool programs. While there can be benefits to both, a study from the University of Minnesota published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that students who participated in full-day preschool programs are on average more prepared for elementary school than students who participated in half-day programs. Read more about the study below.

The Setting & Participants

The study took a look at 11 schools in Chicago over the course of a school year. The participants were a “nonrandomized, matched-group cohort of predominantly low-income, ethnic minority children” who were enrolled in Child-Parent Centers. Of the 982 children, 409 were enrolled in full-day preschool programs while the remaining 573 were enrolled in half-day programs.


The goal of the study was to find out if full-day preschool programs made a significant impact in three main aspects: school readiness, attendance, and parental involvement. School readiness included socioemotional health, language, literacy, math, physical health, and cognitive development.

The Results

The results of the study concluded that full-day preschool programs had a significant impact on children’s readiness for school. Arthur Reynolds, a professor at the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development, said in a HealthDay news article, "We found that about 80 percent of children with full-day preschool were at or above national norms in terms of school readiness, compared with 58 percent of children at a part-day program."

They also found that students enrolled in full-day preschool programs had a lower absence record and that the parental involvement was higher. Parents with children in full-day preschools were able to focus more on their careers or education without having to worry about finding competent childcare. So not only were the students getting more time in the classroom, the parents had more time to work on their own endeavors.

Full-Day Preschool at St. Ursula Villa

If you’re interested in enrolling your child in a full-day preschool program, contact St. Ursula Villa. We offer both Montessori and Traditional preschool programs to fit your child’s unique learning needs. Contact us today for more information.