Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Great kindergarten Debate

It seems that in parenting(or anything) a lot of things are controversial. What to feed/not feed your child, what to let them watch on T.V., co-sleep or not. My newest obsession is whether or not to send Cameron, who will be 5 on August 5th, to Kindergarten next year. As a former preschool teacher and having worked in a Kindergarten class right before giving birth, my first thought was to keep him back. I have sat in conferences with parents and praised the idea of "giving them the gift of another year" so many times, you would think it would be an easy decision when it came my turn to make it. And the more people I talk to , the more confused I get. The first thing about California is the crazy kindergarten cut off date of "they must be 5 by December 1st". That means there could be a four year old going to kindergarten. I have long felt that the cut off should be September 1st, or 5 by the first day of school, but that still wouldn't help me here...Then there are the parents who get hostile(seriously) when I talk of not sending him. They say things like "that is an unfair advantage, if he is 5, he should go, it is not fair to MY child to have a child a whole year older in the same class" Great, now I not only have to think about what is best for my child, I have to consider what is best for YOURS, too? I have enough to think about...So here are my reasons for not sending him: He is a little on the immature side. He has some speech issues that he is in speech therapy for. He cannot recognize his letters and isn't at all interested in writing them. He has trouble cutting. He can be fidgety and impatient. This, combined with the fact that I believe that kindergarten has now become first grade in what they expect them to learn and comprehend and first grade has become second grade, etc...I am leaning towards not sending him. I am not saying that anyone with a child born August or after should not send them, but I just think it is what is best for MY child. And that should be enough.
Then there is the debate between private or public school, but I will save that one for another day...


Rhonda said...

I feel your pain! I agonized about sending my oldest to Kindergarten (June birthday) and ended up sending him. But I will always wonder what school would be like for him if he had that extra year. Kindergarten is like first grade now and so on and so on. You are not responsible for any other child, but your own. So don't let other people make you feel bad. Just do what you think is best for your son.

M3 (Mary-Mia) said...

I hear ya! My mom was a teacher and then a principal for 25 years and always talked about this issue. Parents were vehement about one side or the other. She always leaned on the side of keeping the kids (if they were boys now that I think about it) home for that extra year. It was something about the maturity and all that. Anyhow, tough decision and the only thing I know for sure is that it doesn't matter at all what those other parents think, just do what you want to. From reading your post it sounds like you want to keep him home, by the way.

Carrie said...

Auntie C weighing in:

My only personal regret sending Shane (end of July baby) is that he is so much smaller than most of the boys. You don't think of this too much now, however it does become an issue the older they get. Things like changing in a jr. high locker room are hard enough, but when you are the only boy that has not gone through puberty, it can be really rough. It is also an issue as far as sports are concerned. However, I think in this area it has actually made him work harder to make the teams, and that will be an asset. Academicly he has had no problems, but we have been blessed with wonderful teachers.

On a professional level, I teach kindergarten intervention. At the begining of the year, I had over 40 students out of 160 that needed a little extra help getting into the groove. Most of them are now doing fine. The exceptions fall into two categories, kids with learning disabilities and kids who are brignt, but that were just not ready to start. All of these students will be retained next year, regardless of the work we do. They just won't be able to catch up. In additon, the ones who are socially not ready can find kindergarten to be really unplesant (they end up in trouble alot...there is not nearly the latitude given in preschool) and this can have consequences for the many years to come.

Follow your instincts... You won't regret having him wait, but you may long regret sending him too early.

Auntie C

Shelli said...

We held our son back a year - it was the best decision we ever made. He has an August birthday - cutoff in Texas is September 1st. Your son sounds similar to mine.

I think that extra year gave him so much more confidence, plus I had him home with me for one more year.

Good luck!

Joannah said...

I know I'm a complete stranger weighing in on your child's education, but I'm a teacher and I can't help myself. Starting the next year is a good idea in my opinion, especially since you feel he's not ready. Another option, if your district offers it, is preppy K. I work in the Ocean View school district in Huntington Beach, and it's a great program. Good luck with your decision.

Old Lush said...

I think you should keep him home an extra year and wait until he is ready for kindergarten. There is no need to rush things, and you don't want him to struggle. No one wants to see their children have to work harder to keep up, especially at such a young age!

The way I see it, you'll have him for a year longer in the long run...and who wants to rush to send your son off to college? I'm already dreading the day I have to send my "baby" off to school:)