Loving school, disliking other parents assumptions - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 09-05-2010, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS started school this august. The "cut-off" is to turn 6 by December 31. But this is flexible. Meaning kids with birthdays near the end of the year can stay in kindergarten an extra year if not ready, and those with birthdays later than the cut-off that are mature for their age can start early. The kindergarten teachers do an assessment the year before and make their recommendation.

DS birthday is at the end of the year, so he is one of the youngest in the class. But not the youngest. His kindergarten teachers said he was ready. If they had said he was not ready, we would have kept him in kindergarten another year, no problem, as it is a fabulous play-based environment that he loved.

He likes school as well. Yet two parents have come up to me, and asked me, in front of DS, how old he was and then said "so YOU suggested to the kindergarten teachers that he was ready for school?" Um, no I didn't! It is not as if my child is 3 years younger than everyone else. He is young, but not the youngest. He is a calm, mellow kid and his teachers said he was ready. Which is what I have told these two parents. But it really irks me. And if another parent asks, I want a better answer. Because why should I have to defend myself, or my DS, from their WRONG assumptions. It is not like we have done anything wrong. Also, the class is having a welcome meeting tuesday afternoon, and I'll be annoyed if it comes up again.
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#2 of 15 Old 09-05-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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Of course you don't have to defend yourself. This is one of those classic Miss Manners situations that calls for raised eyebrows and "Excuse me?" Followed by (if this doesn't work) a puzzled look and "And you're interested in my son's kindergarten readiness because...?"
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#3 of 15 Old 09-05-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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Of course you don't have to defend yourself. This is one of those classic Miss Manners situations that calls for raised eyebrows and "Excuse me?" Followed by (if this doesn't work) a puzzled look and "And you're interested in my son's kindergarten readiness because...?"


We homeschool, but people have said, "you're in kindergarten?" and then to me "he's a 5-year-old boy." I just say, "yes, he is." Then it's usually "well, my son/grandson/nephew/cousin is waiting a year. You know they say boys mature more slowly." I know red-shirting for K is becoming popular, but somehow it's quickly become *so much* the norm that following the district policy about age/grade makes you the weird one.

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#4 of 15 Old 09-05-2010, 10:07 PM
 
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is it possible that it really has nothing to do with you and more to do with how they could get around the school recommendations? Or trying to figure out what their child (or past or future first graders) did or could get to first grade earlier?
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#5 of 15 Old 09-05-2010, 10:29 PM
 
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It's really NOT about you or your child. It's their own insecurity. They are insecure with their own decisions. They think if enough people agree with them, then they MUST have made the right decision. Some also think may think that because YOUR son was ready young, he must be smarter and they freak out. Kids develop at their own rate, plain and simple. Both my kids are young for grade for different reasons. My youngest started kindie on schedule at 4y10months. Yes, I got the comments too particularly because he was a boy. I just smiled and said "he's exactly where he's supposed to be." They all shut up once they started working in the class and seeing DS in action. They'll do the same for you. DS is in 5th grade and no one has mentioned his age since then!

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#6 of 15 Old 09-06-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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is it possible that it really has nothing to do with you and more to do with how they could get around the school recommendations? Or trying to figure out what their child (or past or future first graders) did or could get to first grade earlier?
This is what I was thinking also. I suggest telling them in a reassuring way that the teachers assess the kids to see if they are ready to go on if they are close to the cutoff on either side. Whether they are being rude or inquiring it will end the conversation without you having to say something snotty. Around here most socializing is done by playdates and parents won't invite you and your kid over if they think you are rude, especially if they are asking the question to seek information about their next child getting in faster.
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#7 of 15 Old 09-06-2010, 01:06 AM
 
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I simply tell them that retaining has not proven via studies to be better for children. And that by the time they reach high school, the studies prove that those who were held back due to age still are at risk for issues. This almost always shuts them up. We thoroughly researched and while we ended up retaining one child due to emotional issues, the other is not.

I don't have the link (sorry!) but there was a study done in Wisconsin about keeping children back that extra year which showed that it was no better for them. I can't remember the word, but if you search it on mdc you'll find it. Redbenching or red something. Sorry nursing brain lol

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#8 of 15 Old 09-06-2010, 01:40 AM
 
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I can't remember the word, but if you search it on mdc you'll find it. Redbenching or red something. Sorry nursing brain lol
I had to giggle when I read this. You must not be a big college sports fan. The term is "redshirting".

OP, I would err on the side of telling people to mind thier own business. But if I were in a really nice mood, I would probably just say "Both the teacher and I agree DS is in the proper class. Have a nice day."

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#9 of 15 Old 09-06-2010, 03:03 AM
 
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I'd totally go with the "you're concerned about my child because....?" and either walk away or change the subject. They won't ask again. It's none of their business.

Jenn
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#10 of 15 Old 09-06-2010, 07:25 AM
 
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His kindergarten teachers said he was ready.
I would simply say this.

Maybe they are asking b/c the kindergarten teachers typically tell parents that the younger students (esp. the younger boys) are not ready. There is a lot of redshirting where I am, and my ds is the youngest in his class. Sometimes I think that the parents who have held their kids back feel like they have to explain why they chose to do so; I see this more often than I get asked about why I chose to start ds right after he turned 5.
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#11 of 15 Old 09-06-2010, 08:59 AM
 
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While I agree it canbe annoying, if these are people that you have to interact with in the future, I would just state that, "the Kindergarten teacher conducted the assessment and made her recommendation, and we accepted it". If they persist with the glories of redshirting, I would just state that "we selected the placement that we think would be best for our individual child". Who can argue with that? Kids are (surprise, surprise) individuals and what is right for one child is not for the other, and vice versa.

We started DD "early" for Kindergarten (she missed the cutoff by 2 days) because that is where we thought she would thrive (and found a private school that would accomodate us). When it came to first grade (this year), we were switching schools (to public), so if not asked, they would have placed her in Kindy again. I was concerned about that (but was open to whatever placement was most appropriate for her, given that it was a different school). They did an assessment and deemed her ready for first grade. So that is what we decided upon. If anybody asks (only rarely), I usually just respond with the above statements.

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#12 of 15 Old 09-06-2010, 09:19 AM
 
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I simply tell them that retaining has not proven via studies to be better for children. And that by the time they reach high school, the studies prove that those who were held back due to age still are at risk for issues.
I don't get the impression that the parents of the boys who were held back were given a choice in the matter. I get the feeling that the teachers pretty much just told them that their kids weren't ready.

These parents aren't asking her why she chose to send him according the districts cut-off. They want to know what made her DS get the coveted early go ahead from the seemingly omnipotent kindy teachers when their DSs were held back by them.

It probably hurt when they were forced to hold their kid back. They probably worried about what it does to their kids esteem. They may even be very aware of the research you are talking about.


I think under the circumstances, saying as little as possible is best of all. Maybe just commenting about how hanging out with vis older sister makes him tend to seem more mature (does he have an older sister?) or some similar simple quick explanation.

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#13 of 15 Old 09-06-2010, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for the replies. I have to be nice, and I want to anyway, as DS and these 50 other kids will be together for the next 10 years!!! Not much moving around over here, so a lot of the kids will be here together "forever". Plus we live in the same neighborhood. These will be his friends.

The kindergarten teachers make their recommendations, but it isn't set in blood. You can insist otherwise, if you are persistant. But I did not do this. Maybe that's why it irks me that people just assume I did.

On the one hand, I don't get it, because we are not talking 3 or 4 years difference here. I think the largest gap is less than 2 years. On the other hand, as Eepster pointed out, maybe some of these parents have the older boys and felt hurt and they wanted to know what made my DS "special". So instead of being offended, I should just let the water run off my back. And in reality, it isn't anything "special". It is personality more than anything - DS is pretty mellow and can sit still and pay attention to rules... which is just his personality, where a lot of the other biys are zapping around at 20 different things. I wouldn't say he is overly mature for his age. I am sure he is much less mature than a lot of the girls.
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#14 of 15 Old 09-06-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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As satisfying as it would be to give a "smart" answer, it would probably be better for inter-parental relations to say "oh no, it doesn't work that way; ALL children are assessed by the Kindergarten teachers for readiness" and perhaps add "there is such a wide range of development at this age."

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#15 of 15 Old 09-06-2010, 11:25 AM
 
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We homeschool, but people have said, "you're in kindergarten?" and then to me "he's a 5-year-old boy." I just say, "yes, he is." Then it's usually "well, my son/grandson/nephew/cousin is waiting a year. You know they say boys mature more slowly." I know red-shirting for K is becoming popular, but somehow it's quickly become *so much* the norm that following the district policy about age/grade makes you the weird one.
Ugh this drives me nuts. My youngest daughter's birthday is 8 days before the cutoff. I have been told by so many people, ESPECIALLY teachers, that I should think about holding her back until next year. Um no. She did fine on her screening. The teacher screening her told me she did just fine but that she should be held back because it may not be a problem now but it will be when she's in 3rd or 4th grade. I told her that I'd deal with that if it happens.

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