In the US, most children aged 5/6 attend kindergarten (the equivalent age to Year 1 of school in the UK). However, the length of day varies. In an effort to examine the relationship between education and health and the implications for instituting statewide full-day kindergarten, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, implemented a health impact assessment. As part of the study, researchers compared Nevada’s half-day kindergartners to its full-day kindergartners and found that full-day kindergarteners performed better on assessments and were healthier than their half-day peers. The study was undertaken as the state tried to determine if it would be worthwhile to expand full-day kindergarten to all of its schools.
Researchers studied six Nevada districts based on their size, diversity, and availability of data. They also examined the availability of nutrition and physical education in these schools. They found that full-day children had higher test scores than half-day children at the end of kindergarten or first grade regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or knowledge of English, and scored higher on third-grade (Year 4) reading proficiency tests. The authors note that children who are proficient in reading by third grade are demonstrated to be more likely to graduate than those who are not.
Source: Full-day Kindergarten in Nevada: A Health Impact Assessment (2015), University of Nevada, Las Vegas.