Failing Kindergarten? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-25-2011, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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At the beginning of the school year my daughter didn't take to learning very enthusiastically. Her teacher brought it to my attention that she wasn't on track and we worked together to get her on track. The teacher told me she was seeing good improvements and that if she continued to improve at the rate she was that she would have no problem moving on to 1st grade. Unfortunately we had to move about halfway through the school year and my daughter had to switch schools. I did not like her new school but didn't have a choice in the matter. Right away the new teacher was talking about how she was behind and wasn't learning enough and had talks about not moving on to 1st grade. I think my daughter is doing great considering she's not even 6 yet. She can add pretty well and if she makes a mistake and you point it out to her she usually gets it right the next time. She's learning subtraction right now and does good with most numbers except anything -0. She can identify all letters and numbers 0-30 (other than 13 I don't think she likes it because she skips it when counting too). She knows the letter sound pretty well and tries to sound out words when she doesn't know them but she usually can't take the separate sounds and turn them into a word. A list of words she can identify are me, his, we, see, it, go, to, can, for, are, at, make, big, little, my, the, look, like, from, be, is, up, did, he, will, she, it, and. There are more but I just can think of anymore right now. On top of all this the teacher is trying to make me feel like it's my fault she's not "on track" because they and doing this and that to intervene and get her on track. Meanwhile I read with her every night, do flash cards, bought her a math workbook and have supplied her more than enough books to read. What really makes me mad is that this teacher only assigns one measly worksheet a week for homework so all her home learning is coming from me.

 

Anyways, do you think they'll really fail my daughter?

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Old 04-25-2011, 06:12 PM
 
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I don't know about your state, but where I live a school can suggest retention but the ultimate decision is up to the parents.  If the parents say, "no," the kid isn't retained. 

 

My bigger concern would be the message that your daughter is getting about herself this early in school.  Is your dd aware of these conversations or concerns from the teacher? 

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Old 04-25-2011, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post

My bigger concern would be the message that your daughter is getting about herself this early in school.  Is your dd aware of these conversations or concerns from the teacher? 



She knows I've talked to her teacher but I don't think she thinks anything of it. I never mention anything negative to her about learning and I don't think her teacher would. She wants to be an "animal doctor" (her words of course) so I try to encourage her that animal doctors need to learn a lot so they can help animals and it usually perks her back up and she wants to keep working.

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Old 04-25-2011, 06:44 PM
 
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I would sit down with the teacher, the principal, and possibly a 1st grade teacher. 

 

Ask about expectations for next year. Ask about interventions they are doing NOW (title 1, reading specialist, reading recovery,etc). There is still time in the end of the year to get some forward movement. They should be doing more than asking you to work with her at home.

 

Also ask for details on 'how' she is not doing well. What level should she be at and where is she now (compared by grade level)? What skills is she missing? What are her strengths? Weaknesses? Did moving cause stress that could impede her learning?

 

Also possibly ask for a Lights retention scale to be done. It is a simple evaluation (less subjective than one teacher saying something) that takes certain things in consideration for retention of a student (age, grades, social skills, interpersonal identify, teacher report, parent report, personality, attention skills, etc). It also allows you to pinpoint areas of concern that would lean one way or another.

 

Unless your DD is 'failing' (not meeting benchmarks across the board) and/or not in an age appropriate placement- the school can not hold her back. They may suggest it though- even if she is failing, usually they MUST try other interventions first to prove that other routes did not work.

 

Also, you can request an evaluation for possible learning disabilities. Often kids that struggle in K and have no other reasons (medical, physical, etc) for doing poorly- an thorough evaluation can help determine if they may have a reading, writing, or math disability. I would also suggest a complete eye exam incase there are some concerns there (muscle alignment, strength, etc). If a student DOES have a learning disability- they should have the student go forward to 1st in 'almost' every situation with extra support from a Special Education teacher.

 

 

I will tell you in K - the pressure is much more and K work is what was 1st grade 10-15 yrs ago. Kids are expected to read walking out, write  sentences, know numbers 0-100, simple addition/subtraction,as a bare basic to go to 1st, etc. Is your DDs program an all day or 1/2 day?  That may also effect learning (if it is 1/2 day is she getting enough support? If it is all day are they doing academics in the afternoon when your DD may be tired or unfocused). 

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Old 04-26-2011, 06:11 AM
 
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Have you ever had your daughter's eyes examined? I just ask because one of my friend's sons was having trouble in kindergarten last year. She took him to the eye doctor last spring and it ended up his eyes weren't tracking words across the page properly. He started in vision therapy and getting some extra reading help over the summer. He repeated kindergarten this year and is doing much better.

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Old 04-26-2011, 07:39 AM
 
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I actually wouldn't be terribly worried about learning disabilities or anything else being wrong myself.  Given what you say she's doing academically, it sounds just fine for a younger kindergartner.  It sounds like the problem is more that the expectations are developmentally inappropriate given her age.  Unless they are significantly intellectually advanced, it is not uncommon for the younger kids to lag a bit academically for the first few years.  The research does not support retaining kids simply b/c they are younger and the academic disparity that is based solely on age differences tends to disappear around 3rd grade.  The trick is supporting the child until that time such that s/he doesn't feel like an academic failure. 

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Old 04-26-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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When does she turn 6? Is red shirting common where you live?  I'm curious how young for grade she is considering where you live.

 

What exactly are they doing for intervention?

 

I agree with KC Michigan and would request an evaluation if they seem serious about advocating for retention. I also agree with Christa that she most likely doesn't have any real issues other than being a bit on the young side, but demanding that they do an evaluation before considering retention could cause them to let up on the retention question.

 

The other thing is that many kids don't do any reading, writing or math during the summer and their skills drop. By continuing to do little things with her other the summer (like you already are), she could be in lovely shape compared to her peers by the beginning of the school year.

 

Good luck!  One of my DDs has a summer birthday, and was really unfocused and a bit flaky at that age. She is super bright and in middle school now, and while she is towards the younger side for her grade, is one of the very top students. I'm a big fan of kids being in their age appropriate grades. The difference between the summer birthdays seem like a bigger deal in K, but it really fades over time.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 04-26-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

When does she turn 6? Is red shirting common where you live?  I'm curious how young for grade she is considering where you live.

 

What exactly are they doing for intervention?

 

I agree with KC Michigan and would request an evaluation if they seem serious about advocating for retention. I also agree with Christa that she most likely doesn't have any real issues other than being a bit on the young side, but demanding that they do an evaluation before considering retention could cause them to let up on the retention question.

 

The other thing is that many kids don't do any reading, writing or math during the summer and their skills drop. By continuing to do little things with her other the summer (like you already are), she could be in lovely shape compared to her peers by the beginning of the school year.

 

Good luck!  One of my DDs has a summer birthday, and was really unfocused and a bit flaky at that age. She is super bright and in middle school now, and while she is towards the younger side for her grade, is one of the very top students. I'm a big fan of kids being in their age appropriate grades. The difference between the summer birthdays seem like a bigger deal in K, but it really fades over time.


I agree. If you do not suspect any learning delays other than age-related, then I would push for her advancement to first grade. There is such a huge disparity between kids in Kindergarten, as well as in first grade. There were a lot of kids who started in DD's first grade that could barely read, but with more maturity and extra help, they were able to get up to speed with the other kids. Same with math and other subjects.

 

Also, I would think about relaxing on the home learning, at least in terms of formal stuff, and focus more on fun games and activities where she can enhance her skills, whether it is reading, writing or math (unless she is really enjoying the workbooks and flashcards - my DD loves that kind of stuff). It would be ashame if she "burned out" at such a tender age. You could focus instead on building her natural curiosity for learning things that she is interested in and take it from there, as you can build one or two of the basic skills into almost any activity.
 

 


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Old 04-26-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amma_mama View Post
Also, I would think about relaxing on the home learning, at least in terms of formal stuff, and focus more on fun games and activities where she can enhance her skills, whether it is reading, writing or math (unless she is really enjoying the workbooks and flashcards - my DD loves that kind of stuff). It would be ashame if she "burned out" at such a tender age. You could focus instead on building her natural curiosity for learning things that she is interested in and take it from there, as you can build one or two of the basic skills into almost any activity.


I agree with this. At that age, being in the summer reading program at the library and needing to copy the names of the books they read was really enough reading and writing for my kids over the summer. You can do TONS of math with games. There are so many fun options!

 

And I also recommend finding a fun activity for her outside of school work, something she feels successful with and has fun with. Anything. Swimming, dancing, girl scouts, anything that is just FUN. It's tough on kids to get messages that they need to try harder and that may be they aren't quit smart enough. I think balancing it with just enjoying herself in a group would be helpful for her sense of self long term.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 04-27-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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I agree with KCMichigan and lindberg99.

 

I was held back in 1st grade for reasons that probably ended up amounting to needing glasses, and it had long-term consequences on my self esteem and attitude towards education. I do think retention can be helpful for some kids, but that other possible problems that wouldn't be fixed by grade retention need to be ruled out first.


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Old 04-27-2011, 08:51 PM
 
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My kid can't do that.  She's 6.5 and finishing 1st grade.  She reads almost no words, except those that rhyme with CAT.  She gets those pesky letters at the end of the alphabet mixed up.  I think she's fine.  


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Old 04-27-2011, 11:20 PM
 
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another thought is to go online and find the district's learning goals for the end of kindergarten. I will say that the 'learning goals' have really increased in the last 5-10 years for kindergarten, and children are expected to start 1st grade with a lot of early reading skills.

 

So, in our district, children are expected to be able to be able to do the following by the end of K: For literacy: recognize upper and lower case letters, identify the letter names of those letters and the sounds they make, be able to decode some simple words -- so be able to put p-u-t together into put or take apart put into the sounds p-u-t, be able to rhyme words, recognize at least 25 sight words, be able to understand stories read aloud, be able to sequence events. For math: recognize numbers 1-10, be able to match numbers 1-10 to quantity, be able to count by ones to 30, recognize 1-1 correspondence between numbers and objects, be able to count backwards from 10.

 

I suspect your district has similar goals. It sounds like your daughter is pretty close to a lot of these goals. A lot of kids enter first grade not being able to blend sounds together to make words and learn to read quite well in first grade.

 

I would request a meeting with the teacher and the counselor, take a copy of the learning goals into the meeting and find out what they're really thinking. Just because your daughter requires some extra help right now doesn't mean that she won't be ready for 1st grade. As others have said, if a lot of other kids were 6 when they started K, then yes, they're going to be further ahead of your 5 year old who has a summer bday. In order to retain her, she would have to be significantly behind, and it doesn't sound like she is. She's just not quite reading yet, which is perfectly appropriate for a 5 year old!


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Old 04-28-2011, 09:59 PM
 
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Quote:
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My kid can't do that.  She's 6.5 and finishing 1st grade.  She reads almost no words, except those that rhyme with CAT.  She gets those pesky letters at the end of the alphabet mixed up.  I think she's fine.  


Is she in public school?  I'm just surprised to hear this, because I more often hear how academically pushy schools are "these days."  In DS's 1st grade class the teacher had the goal the majority of kids reading at least at a 3rd grade level and the class reached that goal in the spring.  It sounds *wonderful* to be in your situation!  I'm assuming there is no pressure from the teachers?  Are her classmates at a similar level?

 


 

 

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Old 04-30-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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My DS is repeating kindergarten this year and it was been a wonderful experience. However, he's just now able to do what the OPs DD is doing now and there's no danger of retention.


 

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Old 05-01-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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It's really a shame the teacher is putting all the responsibility on you.  Like you said, it seems your child likes learning, maybe she just isn't getting enough direct instruction to show improvements.  Especially since you said she normally corrects a mistake if you point it out to her -- maybe no one is sitting with her a few times during the day to help point things out.

 

Since she's only getting one worksheet at a time, you might want to get online and print off a few free printable worksheets so you can continue working with her at home.  My 4yo son loves doing fun worksheets with me, especially when they are in color (and if they have pictures on them, all the better!) :)

 

Here's the website we use... lots and lots of free printable kindergarten worksheets in a bunch of different areas.  I hope this helps!

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