Kindergartners Jack Colfer, left, and Kevin Kaster play in a toy car on the playground at Soda Creek Elementary School in November 2007. Steamboat Springs School District officials are using an online survey to gather input on all-day kindergarten.

File Photo

Kindergartners Jack Colfer, left, and Kevin Kaster play in a toy car on the playground at Soda Creek Elementary School in November 2007. Steamboat Springs School District officials are using an online survey to gather input on all-day kindergarten.

Another piece of the pie

School district offering all-day kindergarten online survey


On the 'Net

To take the Steamboat Springs School District's all-day kindergarten survey, visit survey-intro.zgi?p= WEB227GVVSHH9M

— Steamboat Springs School District officials have created an online survey to gather more community, parent and staff input on how to best implement all-day kindergarten.

JoAnne Hilton-Gabeler, the district's curriculum and instruction director, said the Steamboat Springs School Board plans to discuss all-day kindergarten at a meeting March 10.

"At that time, the board wants to have some sense of community input and what parents may want out of full-day kindergarten, what they want it to look like and whether it will be tuition-based or not," she said. "These are the general questions we are asking in the survey."

The anonymous survey also asks whether parents would prefer all-day kindergarten to start in August 2008, January 2009 or August 2009.

Another questions asks, "Would you be interested in a public Montessori all-day kindergarten program if it were part of a tuition-based primary classroom (3-year-olds, 4-year-olds and kindergartners) run by the school district?"

Questions for the survey were established by the district's all-day kindergarten committee, which includes school administrators, school district directors, teachers, support staff, parents and other members of the community.

"We have also assigned (committee) members to poll local preschools," Hilton-Gabeler said. "Additionally, committee members are planning to place paper versions of the survey in local libraries."

School Board member Denise Connelly said she hopes the survey will provide information about whether the community supports a tuition-based program, and the approximate number of students who might enroll in all-day kindergarten.

"If there are only 17 or so at each school, then that would only be one classroom," she said. "But what we have heard is that a lot of times when full-day kindergarten is introduced, a lot more people sign up."

Hilton-Gabeler hopes the input gathered from the survey helps move the all-day kindergarten discussion forward.

"We hope to have some kind of directive about where they want to go, and we can go from there," she said. "This is just adding another piece to the pie so the board can have a broader idea of what the community wants."


80488mom 9 years, 2 months ago

Nondescript - I do own property and I am a taxpayer. I don't begrudge money spent on education. I would support an International Bac program for middle school and high school students as well as a technical facility. The elementary Montessori program was long over due. I just feel that all day kindergarten is being pushed because of daycare issues beyond the educational advantage some would think it presents. I would rather see the additional funding go towards other programs that enhance a child's educational experience in middle school and high school where they are losing interest. If the money is spent on younger students I would rather see Montessori offered for 3 and 4 year olds.....but not all day.....1/2 day programs. Full day kindergarten is not going to make that much difference.

I did stay home with my children. I was their first teacher and continued complementing their studies once in school with hands on learning experiences. One was studying the American with Disabilities Act. I took him to learn how to read and write braille....and the list goes on and on.

I am not supporting this because I think it is a public funded solution to a daycare issue being disguised as a necessary educational program.


Bingohappy 9 years, 2 months ago

Maybe parents should take some responsibility and time with their child. Just because it is becoming the norm to put a 3 year old in preschool, doesn't mean it's right. All day kindergarten is just passing the buck for the government to raise your kid.


lowerprofile 9 years, 2 months ago

Every conversation I have been privy to with the school board has said that this program would need to be tuition based, therefore the costs of the program will be absorbed by the participating families NOT passing off the responsibilities on to the government.

In addition, providing places where children are well cared for during working hours will allow more of our working community to work. Have you seen the help wanted ads lately? Services across the board are suffering because there aren't enough available workers.

Just because there are some who believe that education is important at all ages, doesn't make it wrong.


Bingohappy 9 years, 2 months ago

Lowerprofile, It is not the money that I am concerned about, it's priority. It's more important for parents to work and have a nicer house, car and skis than to cut their budget and spend time with thier kids. Lets start raising our kids and stop depending on others to to your job! Let's be parents! The reason people want an all day kindergarten is so someone else will teach and raise their kid.
We all need to step back and see what is best for our kid...not the parent


housepoor 9 years, 2 months ago

Bingo, In Steamboat they are not working to have a 'nicer' house, both parents are working to survive. It's not like they say, well honey if you start working as a bank teller we can afford that million dollar 3bdr house instead of our $500,000 2bdrm condo........well maybe bank teller is not a good example as it appears that can be very lucrative for some.


justathought 9 years, 2 months ago

If both parents have to work so hard to survive, why have kids in the first place? If they really wanted what is best for the child, maybe living somewhere they could afford would be a good start. Which one is the status symbol, living in stmbt or having children?


Bingohappy 9 years, 2 months ago

justathought- Yep! Most jobs/careers in Steamboat can be found in other areas that are more afordable to live and raise kids. I would just like to see family and family values increase instead of concentrating on pocketbook or as some people say "survival".


80488mom 9 years, 2 months ago

Bingo and Just a Thought - you've got it right....where were you guys when I was arguing this the last time. Thank you for your comments.

All day kindergarten is not going to produce Ivy League candidates. Parental involvement is.


corduroy 9 years, 2 months ago

i don't think I would be the same kid if I had stayed at home with my mom for 2 more years before starting full time 1st grade. Pre-school was done through a private, Waldorf school (later they had grades K-12 in addtion) and then I had full day K the next year. I remember distinctly learning a lot in full day K. all the alphabet, numbers, we had gym class and library time with a book read to us, art class, recess.. all the same things 1st grade through 12th graders had..

I think starting early is VERY beneficial to development. Maybe its the parents who don't want to sever the umbilical cord? My mom was very active with the school so whether I liked it or not she was around often. I don't think that was a bad thing either..


citizenstmbt 9 years, 2 months ago


That is a bold and uninformed statement to assume that the reason people want full day kindergarten is "so someone else will teach and raise their kid". We live in a community that strives to make available the best education and programs for our children. Family values and parent involvement are certainly not jeopardized by sending a child to kindergarten. I would hope everyone can see that there is a lot more to "parent involvment" than a Monday-Friday school schedule. I trust that the administration will make decisions and recomendations based on what is best for the kids, not opinions based on self-interest. Once your child enters 1st grade, do you stop particpating because "someone else is raising your child"?


Carrie Requist 9 years, 2 months ago

There is both education and child care going on here.

The summary of the national research shows primarily positive effects of full day over half day in both academic and social/behavioral areas and that no negative effects were seen.

I, personally, believe that most 5/6 year olds are ready for full day K and thrive in that environment, but that is just my personal opinion.

There is also a reality in Steamboat that we are in a worker crisis with not enough working people to fill the abundance of jobs. For parents who do want to be home when their children are home, that means that one parent cannot work until the child is in a full day program. Even then, they are still only available during school hours, which are not fulltime hours (8:25-3:15 for Strawberry Park Elementary).

The daycares that offer 1/2 day programs for Ks (for the other 1/2 day) are completely overbooked.

You can't legislate morality and you can't legislate parenting either. By turning down the community's request for all day K, you are not going to make sure that one parent stays home with the 5/6 year old and pays attention to him/her and does enriching activities. People will either find the childcare or move out of the community and the businesses in the community see this as a crisis.

I believe I am a very involved parent and since I am NOT anonymous, you can judge for yourself. And yet my kids went to full day K (at the Montessori preschool). And now (in 2nd and 4th grade), they are in school fulltime, part of a winter sports club program that meets two afternoons and Sat morning and take piano lessons - from the outside, it might look like I am pawning off my parenting, but I believe that I am supporting my children to grow and learn in many different ways and I make sure that we have good family time together very often (including dinner together).

So, my point is that full day K research shows that it is beneficial and many parents want it. I can't think of better reasons to implement it.


Bingohappy 9 years, 2 months ago

---Corduroy--- "I remember distinctly learning a lot in full day K. all the alphabet, numbers, we had gym class and library time with a book read to us, art class, recess" You are right Corduroy, if you can't teach your own child alphabet, numbers and exercise plus read to them...there should be a all day K so they can teach your kid.

---citizenstmbt--"I trust that the administration will make decisions and recomendations based on what is best for the kids, not opinions based on self-interest." That is a typical statement-you are relying on the adminstration to decide what is best for your kid. ---it should be you! Too many Americans ask the government to take care of our own responsibilities.


nondescript1 9 years, 2 months ago

Bingo, Just a thought and 80488mom,

While we're on the subject of surveys, I thought I'd ask you three the following questions:

  1. Are you currently "raising" children under the age of 6?

  2. If you answered yes to #1, do you take total responsibility for "raising" your child/children, e.g no child care, no preschool, no nanny, no grandma, big sister or other family childcare provider, and no babysitters?

  3. Are you aware of the current body of research that has found effective early education is critical to a child's readiness for and success within school?

  4. Are you currently "raising" children ages 6 to 18?

  5. If yes to #4, are your children enrolled in Steamboat Springs School District?

  6. Do you consider public education "passing the buck for government to raise your kid"?

  7. If you answered yes to #6, do you take total responsibility for educating your children (homeschooling)?

  8. Do you own property within the Steamboat Springs School District boundaries? Did you vote for SSSD school board members? Do you pay property taxes?

  9. Do you work outside the home?

  10. If you do have children under the age of 18, are you a single parent?

I'll be interested to hear back from you.


DinaFisher 9 years, 2 months ago

We all know the real debate is not why people live here if they cannot afford it (Steamboat was a community of hard working families long before it became a trendy ski resort town - some people still hold their family roots here & choose to stay), why parents work (there are many circumstances, single parents, and the need for health & dental insurance), or why they had children in the first place (sorry, too late for that debate, they're already here - we need to educate them!).

The REAL ISSUE at hand we should all focus on here is whether Full Day Kindergarten is beneficial to our kids preparedness for First Grade, and if more pre-school availability spots in town will benefit a larger number of current pre-schoolers unable to secure a space with the current 3 year waiting list for Pre-K. As you may be aware, there is a nation-wide campaign to encourage ALL parents (even the ones who do not "pawn their kids off") to have their pre-schooler attend at least part-time Pre-K before sending them to Kindergarten. For many pre-schoolers, this is not an option, due to lack of availability. An additional benefit to Full Day Kindergarten is far-reaching: our business community is in a workforce shortage crisis, adding additional childcare spaces (remember, we will "free up" many spots at private pre-schools that currently care for kindergarteners after their current 2 ½ school day ends) can offer one small answer to creating alternatives for the talented pool of people here to re-join the workforce (if even part-time).

Busing & traffic congestion downtown: There is currently no mid-day busing system. Who wouldn't want less traffic congestion downtown mid-day? If the Kindergarten school day coincides with the rest of the school, there are bussing options both AM & PM..

Clearly, there is real need for parents to work, in our community, and I suspect many of these parents work for more noble reasons than to simply "pawn their kids off" on someone else or to "obtain a nicer house or skis".

I suspect reply's from the working parent's perspective will not be in abundance or forthcoming, they are too busy working & parenting they have better things to do than read these comments.

-Proud and not "anonymous" working mother


turtledove 9 years, 2 months ago

If some parents want and need all-day K, then let them have it if it's feasible. Their children will probably be better off since their parents most likely aren't going to be available for them anyway during those hours.

But I don't need a 36-page study (thanks anyway Carrie) to tell me that my child (who will be in K next year) will be best off in half-day K with the rest of the day spent with a parent who cares more than anyone else can! I've done this before; this is not my first child. Half a day is plenty of school for a 5 or 6 year old. I am fortunate to be able to be with and plan things for my child in the afternoons. I don't begrudge all-day K for those who can't but it doesn't take a lot of common sense to see which is the ideal situation. More quality time with a parent (along with some time at kindergarten) at age 5 can only be a good thing. Citing a "study" to figure it out just struck me as funny. It is such a short time we have with our young children.
There doesn't need to be a big debate. If it's possible to provide all-day K, then great. Let those who want it use it and those who don't take the half-day option.


turtledove 9 years, 2 months ago

p.s. What's wrong with being anonymous? I wouldn't have it any other way on this crazy website!


DinaFisher 9 years, 2 months ago

Turtledove: You're right-on: that is exactly the proposal, to offer OPTIONAL full-day curriculum for those who will use it or agree with the benefits, while still retaining the half day option for those who are lucky enough to get to spend the rest of their day with their child & feel it's best.


Carrie Requist 9 years, 2 months ago

turtledove - You don't need a study to tell you what is best for YOUR child for Kindy and that is great. But I would hope that you would hold our elected officials to higher standards. I am very happy to see them using research to determine what is best for education rather than just deciding that their gut feel is best for MY children and YOUR children and ALL our children. There is nothing wrong with some data to back up feelings.

I am positive that my children were ready for all day K even though I didn't HAVE to send them. That was my common sense of the ideal situation for my children and I am very comfortable with my decision.

I do agree with you that there doesn't need to be a big debate about all day K as an option. From what I hear from other districts, once all day K is offered, almost no one selects 1/2 day K and I find that quite interesting.

As for not being anonymous, I started out anon in this forum and decided that being anon made it too easy for me to spout off without owning what I say. So I switched. I post less but I stand 100% behind everything I post.


turtledove 9 years, 2 months ago

Okay Carrie, I'm sure whatever you've decided is great for you and it's really none of my business. I get the POINTS with the capital letters!
But regarding the all-day K study, it just seemed sort of obvious that the results of a 'study' of all-day kindergarten would depend on what each child's other options were, i.e. where would that child be if not in all-day K? You say the "full day K research shows that it is beneficial" but it looks to me like the results were inconclusive, which is not surprising.


Carrie Requist 9 years, 2 months ago

I didn't mean to offend with my all caps, just emphasizing that while you know what is right for your children and I know what is right for my children, the school board is making a broader decision than that and I hope that they use the available data before deciding that what they think is right for their own children is right for all the district's children.

As for the study, it is a compilation of research on all day K comparing the effectiveness of all day vs. half day only in programs where the effects could be compared and in areas that education is usually measured on. The study showed (from the summary),"The studies involving academic achievement, grade retention, special education referrals, and social and behavioral effects generally support the effectiveness of full day over half day programs." And from the academic acheivement section "The aggregated data reveal that 40 of the 64 comparisons (63%) favor full day kindergarten with respect to academic achievement gains with no comparisons favoring half day programs."

So, just what I said, that the research showed primarily positive effects of full day K. That you don't agree doesn't change the data. That the effects are not overwhelming doesn't surprise me either, but that is not the same as saying they are inconclusive.

I fully support your decision to keep your child in 1/2 day kindy next year. In fact, you should know that you don't have to send your child to Kindy or 1st grade at all. In the state of Colorado, it is only mandatory for children to be educated between the ages of 7 and 17 (that will change on July 1st to be 6 to 17, so it will be mandatory for 1st grade soon. This is in the Colorado Revised Statues (CRS) 22-33-104.

I am all about educational options.


Bingohappy 9 years, 2 months ago

Nondescript- I plan on homeschooling my kids, I am a stay at home mom and think the that America needs to revamp their priorities and budget. Don't get me wrong, I love America. But the direction of socialism is staggering. I believe too many parents depend on the school system to teach and raise their child. That gives them an open door to point fingers, expect teachers to be perfect, board members to make every decision correctly for their child. If a parent does not have the motivation to teach their child, an all day K would be good. The town complains of not enough daycare. Parents say they need more child care. They should look in the mirror and realize there is child care looking right at them. I am not saying homeschool is right for everyone, it's just hard to see Parents dropping kids off 5 days a week at such a young age. There are situations that I understand like single parents.
I think teachers have too many restrictions that the government has implimented because of the people. Until the school system can breathe with logic, I will homeschool.


AmebaTost 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm sure half day K will prepare our kids for the half day work and half day skiing they will be eposed to in this dream town. Get real, full day K was the norm when I was a kid, it seemed to work then. Why not now?


turtledove 9 years, 2 months ago

80488mom - I do see your point. Maybe there should be regular half-day K with an optional 'extended day' - with tuition -for those who need the day care. That is the system in some other districts.


Carrie Requist 9 years, 2 months ago

turtledove- that is basically what is being suggested - there are are 1/2 day K classes and full day K classes. Those that chose the full day K option will pay tuition to cover the extra 1/2 day that the school district doesn't cover. The number of classes of 1/2 and full will be decided by community interest.

80488mom -I am glad you support the Montessori. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I worked hard on it and fully support it and educational options. I do just think I should point out that in the Montessori method, Kindergarten is fullday.


80488mom 9 years, 2 months ago

Carrie - I had one son in 1/2 day Montessori kindergarten and one in full day Montessori kindergarten. A requirement of the Montessori kindergarten was mandatory age 3 and 4 year old Montessori education. I don't know why the program in Steamboat doesn't include three and four year olds who have early Montessori training. I've never heard of any Montessori program that included children who didn't have the early Montessori foundation. In fact, the Denver public school program required it and it was a prerequisite for admission despite being a public school program.

Montessori was my personal choice for my children and I hate to say I felt the other alternatives were a waste of time and not even worth considering.


Carrie Requist 9 years, 2 months ago

The current Montessori program in the district starts at 1st grade to be in keeping with the Montessori philosophy and keep the Kindergartens with the 3 and 4 year olds in the Primary class (at the private Montessori school in town).

At the time that our group negotiated with the school district (5 years ago), they were not open to discussing starting the program with the Primary (tuition based for 3 and 4 year olds and 1/2 tuition for full day K). They didn't have space or the mechanism for tuition-based programs and they wanted to start the Montessori as small as possible until they saw enough interest.

Now, there is one LowerE classroom(1st-3rd as you know) and one UpperE classroom that opened last year (it is 3rd, 4th and 5th right now, which will be changing to 4th and 5th next year to be more in line with the Montessori philosophy. It should be 4th, 5th and 6th, but 6th is in the middle school here and that subject hasn't been broached yet).

The Montessori community in Steamboat would be happy for the district to have Primary Montessori as long as it was mixed age classroom of 3 year olds, 4 year olds and Kindys with the 3s and 4s going 1/2 day and the Ks full day to support the Montessori method and the planes of development. What no one wants is for Montessori K to either be alone in the public school or be K-1-2 and 3-4-5, which does not serve the students well.

So far, all students from the private Montessori Primary who have wanted to go to the public Montessori have been placed in the program, but the program is so desired now that it is difficult to have a fair enrollment policy that ensures that the Montessori-trained students get into the program. That is something that the SPE principal is currently dealing with and planning for next year. We are extremely fortunate for SPE that the new principal is Montessori trained and has experience in a school that had both traditional and Montessori programs (just like SPE) so she really understands the needs of the philosophy.

As for the 1/2 day K Montessori, I am not a trained Montessorian, but I do converse with many including the head of The Montessori Foundation and they all tell me that full day K is part of the Montessori philosophy. However, it is up to each Montessori school (and each Montessori teacher) as to how they interpret the philosophy. All the programs I have seen or talked to (and I talked to all the public Montessori programs in CO about 5 years ago) have fullday K.

Since Montessori "follows the child," my kids were learning what they were inspired by in K and loved the fullday class. There was no naptime or anything like that. The 3s and 4s would leave around lunchtime (some before, some after) and the Ks worked in the afternoon either on Montessori works or on group projects that they chose. It is my understanding that the school functions basically the same way now.


turtledove 9 years, 2 months ago

Carrie - Let me guess - You're planning on running for office? Montessori may be great in a lot of cases but not everyone lives and dies by the 'Montessori method.'


Carrie Requist 9 years, 2 months ago

Nope, not running for office and never said that Montessori was for everyone. 80488mom wondered why the Montessori program in Steamboat didn't have preschool and I know the history so I shared it.

Seems like we are unable to communicate well in written form as you have twice now read really negative things into my posts. That is too bad as all I have been trying to do is share my knowledge and information.

Seems like we are both for having an all day K option.


Sunspot 9 years, 1 month ago

Just wondering, if Montessori is so great then why don't they publish their CSAP scores?

As with any other publicly funded program, the taxpayers should be allowed to know if the program is working or not. Also, if I had a kid in the program I would like to know if it is providing an education that is at least as high as the normal curriculum.

I don't have anything against Montessori, but it seems like the program is getting a free ride on transparency. It could be detrimental to the kids if they aren't keeping up.


Carrie Requist 9 years, 1 month ago

I don't know what you are talking about with the Montessori CSAP scores. CSAPs start at 3rd grade and all 3rd+ Montessori students have taken the CSAPs. Their scores are included in the grade's scores and the school's scores, just like every other 3rd+ kid in the district. To my knowledge, the district does not publish CSAP scores by classroom for any single classroom. So you won't see the scores for Mrs. So-and-So's 3rd grade class either.

Plus there are rules with the CSAP that scores can only be reported in the aggregate (except to each parent for their own child) and scores cannot be published if there are few enough that individual children could be identified. I believe this was an issue in the first years of the North Routt Charter where they had so few students in a specific grade that the grade's aggregate score was not allowed to be published. So it could be that when/if the Montessori program is large enough to have enough students per grade then those scores could be published separately per grade.

I know how my child did, just like every other parent, so I can use the CSAP as one measure of how the program is doing for my child. I also know how my children are doing in the program because I look at their work, talk to them, talk to their teachers and go into the classroom.

But rather than speculate and vaguely insinuate conspiracy theories about the Montessori program, why don't you ask the district superintendent, the principal and the teachers?

If you ask me, as a parent, I will tell you that it is doing great for my children and the other children I have contact with. I think most parents can only tell you about their child and their classroom and then see the aggregate CSAP scores per grade and for the school.

Why do you think the district would maintain a program that might be doing a disservice to the children?


80488mom 9 years, 1 month ago

I would suggest those who are unfamiliar with Montessori visit a classroom and observe. If you see a classroom of 3, 4 and 5 year olds it would absolutely amaze you.

For some reason I thought it was offered for the 5 year olds. That's why I posed the question to Carrie about the early foundation.

Montessori children (at least those I've seen and know who started at 3) have an inner contentment and a peaceful spirit. The joy of learning as been instilled at a very early age.

You might also delve into the history of Montessori and how the method was first developed.


MtnWarlock 9 years, 1 month ago

I believe that there are more people who need to stay home with there children however, that has been a dying family value for the last 25 to 35 years! Economics does play a huge role in child care. The poor can't afford it, they adjust their job shifts! The middle class use it because of their professions demand it and can't adjust hours. The rich use it so they can go to day spas, tennis, personal trainers, etc.. To say that people should not live here because they have kids that are a burden like justathought said; If both parents have to work so hard to survive, why have kids in the first place? If they really wanted what is best for the child, maybe living somewhere they could afford would be a good start.

  I mean, come on! Really! How pompous and elitist is that statement! That sounds like a comment from one of the pompous rich who hate kids and never opened their hearts for anyone but themselves! I guess Steamboat is more like snooty Aspen and Vail than I anticipated! 
 I wonder who will do the work of the sickly rich, when there's nobody here to; baby-sit or educate their kids, do their laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, serve their food, wash their high dollar SUV's, etc.! Maybe they will go to another area and whore their people out their community! They already have a gate on the roads to Steamboat!  
Bingohappy says;

  Yep! Most jobs/careers in Steamboat can be found in other areas that are more affordable to live and raise kids. I would just like to see family and family values increase instead of concentrating on pocketbook or as some people say "survival".

          Bingo, you and justathought must live in the same Mt Palace neighborhood! A lot has changed here in 25-30 years! Just go back where you came! Quit trying to make Steamboat like the place you left! Steamboat does not benefit from your kind of mentality! The rest of you bloggers are right on with the subject. Sorry, I get tired of pompous attitudes! Ok, removing claws from subjects!

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