Letter: Why do Ridgefield elementary school students stay in class so long?

To the Editor:

Like many other moms in town, I'm finding it hard to accept that our five-year-olds are in school for almost seven hours a day, and that many come home after 4 o’clock. That seems like an insane amount of time at that age, and is one of if not the longest school day in Connecticut.

Is everyone aware that Ridgefield elementary school kids are in class 20 minutes longer every day than their peers in New Canaan, Greenwich, Westport, and Wilton? That’s 60 more hours a year they get to spend exploring life outside the classroom and creating memories with their families. I understand that not every school can start at an ideal time. I understand not everyone can be bused at once. But if our youngest children have to start as late as 9:10 a.m, they should be getting out at 3:40 p.m. — not 4 o’clock. This should be an easy and possibly even money-saving change to make.

It’s bad enough their summers are now less than two months long. Why are we sending our youngest kids to school for so much longer than everyone else?

In many neighboring towns, elementary school days are shorter than middle and high school. Those towns recognize the difference between teenagers and little kids. In the winter, it’s dark by the time they come home, completely exhausted. They have time for dinner, homework, a bath, and bed. That’s it. They might as well be toting briefcases and contributing to a 401(k).

I don’t know who thought almost seven hours was a good idea, but now — a few months after Dr. Baldwin’s departure — is the time to reevaluate. Please tell our school board and Interim Superintendent Paddyfote to think hard about what is best for children this young.

Laura Liberti

Peaceable Street, Oct. 19