Kindergarten readiness? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 01-04-2004, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Noah will be 5 on 9/29 and we plan to send him to Kindergarten... my Dh is strongly opposed to holding him back because of his late birthday.
He can write all his letters, spell more than a half dozen on his own, knows all his phonics and is sounding out words. My only concern is that he is not super social with kids (he's very particular).. he doesn't sit in a corner, he is very active, but he just seems to gravitate more towards adults. He is an only child, not by choice... I will spare you the secondary fertility saga He has cousins 5 minutes away, goes to pre-school and we do playdates everyweek.

I have many friends who are holding their kids back a year, as far back as June birthdays... my immediate reaction is that this is RIDICULOUS! Isn't there always a learning and emotional curve? It seems to me some parents do it just to give their kid an edge. I am worried now that he will be the youngest by far!

I guess I am spazzing a bit after talking to a few girlfriends this past week.

So what's the norm, what I am wondering is, do most people hold their kids back if they have late birthdays?

Thanks!
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#2 of 10 Old 01-04-2004, 02:11 AM
 
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My initial thought are, if he's developmentally ready, but his social skills aren't quite "average" (for lack of a better word), what will change about his social behavior in a year? He'll go into kindergarten next year with a group of kids younger than him, and behind him in his abilities in the class room. You know his personality better than anyone. Will that scenario give him the confidence to reach out and make friends or will he just be bored in class as the other kids go over things he already knows? Are his social skills perhaps not as 'behind' as others and just be his own personal style. Not all people are outgoing and socail, naturally. If he were immature socially, still throwing temper tantrums, completely unable or unwilling to communicate with other kids etc.. and were small in size, it might give you extra time to work on those specific skills and catch up in size, if you kept him home for another year. What does his preschool teacher say?
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#3 of 10 Old 01-04-2004, 09:55 AM
 
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I like the perspective Jamama has. I have a son who is not terribly social (now in 3rd grade). He and another boy have been friends since preschool and he tends to stick with that friend while not reaching out to others. He is very comfortable with adults and he even has a sibling. I think he has been comfortable discussing things (like science concepts) on a more mature level, and he doesn't always get that from peers. His birthday didn't create any dilemmas (April) but his social style did concern us. He has done fine in school; we're still concerned about him sociallly, but he's doing great academically and we try to beef up his social life out of school.
I know at k-garten level that's one of the main concerns, but I agree with Jamama--what would change in a year if it's his temperament and style?; he would probably be more isolated as the kid who "knows it all" next year.

I would also be curious what the preschool thinks. I have seen a trend toward holding back, especially in urban areas. I think it is a curious trend, and I don't know how it will turn out. People's motives have got to be child centered in the now, not for their gradual acceptance into Harvard!

 
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#4 of 10 Old 01-04-2004, 11:23 AM
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Well, not all kids are the same, but based on my experience, wait. It's not really holding him back. My daughter's bday is 8-23 and so she started kindergarten at 4. Man, if I could go back and do that again. She was fine academically, but she knew that other kids just "got it" quicker then she did. That was really hard on her. Not to mention her fine motor skills, which are typically more developed in girls than boys. Plus, socially, the other kids were more mature. Dd was not awkward or anything, she just didn't quite fit. So, when Feb rolled around, and the teacher began doing 1st grade work to prepare for 1st grade, my dd freaked. It was a nightmare! So we repeated Kindergarten. I was very worried about her being bored and having trouble. Didn't happen. I stayed on top of her teacher and made sure dd got the extra work she needed. Now dd is in 2nd grade and she is the leader of the class! Think about it, had I let her go on to 1st grade, she would be in class with some kids who were 2 years older than her. I was just not interested in sending her to high school at 14 to hang out with 16 year olds. YKWIM? BUT! All kids are different. You may not have self-esteem issues. I also have ds who is a July baby. His pre-school teacher begged me not to send him to a T-K. He is the third baby so he is very mature and would have been bored to tears. We sent him on to Kindergarten at barely 5 with the knowledge that he would repeat K or 1st grade. He is halfway through 1st grade now and is struggling. He doesn't bring books home to read (like he is supposed to) because he doesn't read as well as the top few students in his class. So he doesn't want anyone to see him getting books from the "baby" basket. We talk constantly about his age and he knows that he will do 1st grade again. He's ok.

Trust me, I have a 4th grader. Summer babies who do great in k, 1st and 2nd hit a brick wall in 3rd. I have several friends with 4th grade summer babies (boys and girls) who have their children tutored to keep them caught up. I just don't want my kids to have to struggle to make a B. I want things to come easy for them. My nephew is a Sept baby and my sister didn't even entertain the tought of starting him at 5. She went ahead and started him in school at 4. He's doing ok academically. She has to study with him every night (he's in 2nd grade), but socially... Bless his heart, he just can't keep up. He has turned into the biggest follower and comes home daily with stories of kids who tell him what to do.

All kids are different. The purpose of my thread was not to talk you into anything. I just wanted to give you an idea of some things to look for that some people don't generally think of. Go ahead and start ds in Kindergarten with the knowledge that if he struggles (socially or academically) you can always do Kindergarten again. It was absolutely the best thing I did. I have never come across a parent who regretted waiting until their child was 5 to start school. I have met loads of people who regretted not repeating kindergarten.

If you can, do a google search on boys and development. Readers Digest had an interesting article on it several months ago. The nerves in a boys fingertips haven't even developed when they start kindergarten. Boys need so much more than the Public Schools give them, but that's another thread.......

Hope I didn't come on too strong. Good Luck

Lisa

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#5 of 10 Old 01-04-2004, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well you have all given me food for thought, thanks!

I am feeling more relaxed just reading your posts, and yes Ja I think it's his style more than being *behind*... his motor skills have always been advanced... I can't tell you how often he has a screw driver in hand taking his toys apart (supervised of course)... lately it's been his bike! He is and has been since he could speak, so fascinated with how everything works!

lab... I have to agree that I know no one who regreted holding their kid back.. but regretted the other way around... I do however feel that with his level of interest he may be very bored if I did wait another year.

I will send him off in Fall... and if there is an issue at any time I can always hold him back or get him a tutor
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#6 of 10 Old 01-05-2004, 05:52 PM
 
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Just thought I would offer my perspective on someone who started school early. I had attended 2 years of Montessori preschool and when I was 5 my parents bypassed kindergarden and placed me directly in first grade. I always did average or above average in school, and never had any problems with socialization. I was always the youngest in class - by far (1.2 of the next grade down was older then me LOL!) but I don't remember any big issues regarding this. Some minor things I remember is not driving until later then everyone else - and that I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16 - but the year prior my mom made some exceptions to that rule....so all was well. I was not a follower and didn't have issues with being teased or following the 'bad crowd' in fact I was a pretty goody, goody student until I started college LOL!

I do understand that research now shows to maybe wait with boys because of how they learn, ect....but I truly believe it is individual based on your specific child.

Grace - photographer, wife and mom to 4 great kids (Ethan 5.00, Ainsley 4.02, Owen 12.04, and Ellis Ann 10.07) :
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#7 of 10 Old 01-05-2004, 09:29 PM
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Graceoc, you sound like you had it made! You got to start life early huh! That is so cool.

It is really a hard decision! I am glad you were able to offer your experience as an alternative to what I experienced! It is all so individualized and can be such a huge life changing decision.

My dd started pulling her hair out, she had mouth ulcers, was chasing me down the hall and throwing up. It was not a hard decision to repeat Kindergarten. That was the no-brainer. The decision I wished someone had clued me into was putting her in TK as opposed to starting Kindergarten. 4 hours of TK is a far cry from 8 hours of Kindergarten, especially with a 4 year old. My poor daughter was just more immature. And I don't mean that in a bad way. She was exactly where she was supposed to be for her age, she was just younger. For instance, one of the little girls in her class loved Barbie. So dd had Barbie panties. Now this little girl was a year older than dd so that is a pretty big difference. So my dd, who is a pleaser to begin with, wanted to make this little girl happy and showed her the Barbie panties. IMO, that was a very 4 year old thing to do! Oh man! My poor baby got teased! BAD. And it devastated her and her self-esteem.
Of course I know not all kids are the same. My ds is a summer baby as well and has more charisma in this little finger than most adults do in their whole body. This kid could give Brad Pitt a lesson. Things like that would never harm his self-esteem. So he would be fine with older kids. It's all so individual. Good luck DQ, I hope I didn't make you doubt yourself. You ds sounds like a whole different ball of wax than my little Jenny (who is now 4 ft 3! - where does the time go).

Hugs to everybody!

Lisa

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ds20, dd18, ds16

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#8 of 10 Old 01-06-2004, 07:04 PM
 
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DQ, just wanted to say that I followed your logic when I sent my son to Kindergarten this year, his bd is 8/13. I researched this issue for two years before we had to decide, spoke with teachers of all grade levels, doctors, our principal. I think it is interesting that if they did not know my son, they told me to hold him back. Those who knew him said to send him. I decided that I would rather that he repeat K or 1st than stay at home or preschool and be bored. He is now at the top of his class in reading and math, and is well adjusted socially. He does have trouble coloring with crayons, but we are willing to live with that. I don't know what the future will bring us, but this is where we are now.

Another factor in my decision is that I believe that if the curriculum and the child do not fit, then change the curriculum, not the child. Also, studies show that children who are older in the class are more likely to have behavior/discipline issues in junior high and high school.

Peace with your decision.
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#9 of 10 Old 01-10-2004, 12:26 AM
 
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To give you some perspective, where I live, you can't hold a child back unless his birthday is after October 1. If you wanted your son to go to public school, he'd have to go to kindergarten in September.

When I read the OP, one thing that struck me was that the boy was not really immature, he just wasn't a leader among his peers. One thing that I would think about is whether or not that bothers him. We accept that some adults are less sociable than others... why can't we say that's okay for kids, too?

OTOH, I think that it is important for a child to be socially astute, and that counts for more than academics in the early grades. There is a big difference, though, between understanding how other kids work, and wanting to work with them.

Besides school, there are lots of activities in which he can learn and grow, both academically and socially. It is important to consider those other activities when you look at your son's development. Some children shine in one area and not in another, and he will gain confidence in himself if you let him try different things.

Another thing to consider is what your local kindergarten offers the children. The kindergarten classes at the different schools in our town might as well be offered on different planets. Some stress academics, and others stress playing to learn. Some have many helpers (a teacher, a student teacher, a high school work-experience student and parent volunteers) in the classroom, which makes it easier for children who are struggling socially, and some are just a single teacher and 30 kids, which is tough for everyone involved.

I do know one parent who regretted holding her child back. He was quite bitter about it when he realized (in Grade 3 or 4) that the other kids thought he was held back because he wasn't intellectually able to handle school work and stigmatized him for it. From a kid's perspective, I suppose it might be best to go with the "norms" of your area.
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#10 of 10 Old 01-10-2004, 02:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Kari, thanks for the booster.. I totally agree


Best, you brought up some really interesting points.

Noah is not bothered by his lack of socialness, he is social but very *particular* about who he is social with... I don't think he'll ever be a follower

He has a ton of confidence (more that he needs

I plan to check into class size/ratio when his school holds their open house.

Thanks again everyone
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