The morning school day (continuous) is today the majority reality in public centers for Early Childhood and Primary education in almost all the Autonomous Communities. Extended in Spain even though it is an organizational rarity at an international level, it consists of a compressed schedule throughout the morning, delaying lunchtime.
The problem is that although the morning or continuous day is defended by teachers, it is the other option: the full day (or split) that is associated with better student outcomes, according to some studies. Specifically, it has a positive impact on students both academically and socio-emotionally.
In the case of families, scientific evidence indicates that when school is part-time, family employment sufferssince their working hours can never exceed 25 or 28 hours per week.
These are some of the conclusions of a study by the Center for Economic Policies EsadeEcPol, entitled “Continuous school day: How the pandemic is accelerating a regressive social and educational model” which concludes that the continuous school day is a loss of 8,048 million euros a year for families and that the most affected are mothers.
«The after-school care of children in the morning (or continuous) school day forces, in case of not having external help, families to reduce their working hours or leave their jobs. Today, 66.4% of this burden is borne by women«they add.
What is the ideal model? «We consider that the benefits of a full-time school day (from 09:00/09:30 to 16:00/16:30) with an early lunch (12:30 or 13:00) and a break in students of 3 12 years out far outweigh the costs of maintaining or even extending the status quo,” the authors say.
«In Spain, there was no type of research that linked the type of day at school and how this affects family conciliation and employment and the INE has a survey of living conditions that has a specific module of time in children’s school. Following those between 3 to 12 years old we have seen a very large impact in the time that families can participate in employment and the final income they obtain compared to very similar families but with a split day. In addition, on average, it is women who lose more income and stop participating in employment“, explains Lucas GortazarDirector of Education at EsadeEcPol and one of the authors of the study together with Martha Ferreroprofessor at the Faculty of Education of the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), and Angel Martinezanalyst at EsadeEcpol.
The authors propose an increase of 1,200 million euros in income tax collection for the generalization of a full day, which could be used to guarantee and make this type of day politically viable.
Regarding academic performance, Gortázar clarifies that there are no solid reports in our country, but he does cite rigorous research in Denmark and other Latin American countries that “show that extending the time in school from partial to full speak of an improvement in learning outcomes that affect children with a low educational level more but, in addition, it prevents early pregnancies, criminal attitudes and there is more satisfaction with school«.
On the other hand, there is research on the impact of schedule on health. “In this sense, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics has spoken very strongly asking that lunch not be delayed in young children, that there be a nap and play break. On the other hand, there is also talk of biorhythms: for Primary children there is a peak of attention at mid-morning and two and a half hours after lunch, while at the end of the morning it is reduced. The split day is better adjusted to these rhythms of attention of the children«, concludes Gortázar.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism