Moving up or holding back a grade? opinions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 05-05-2003, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello, my name is Jennifer and I lurk a lot and post every once in a while.

My daughter is 5 1/2 she'll by 6 the middle of September right after the school year starts. She's in a Montessori school where the grades run: Primary 3-6 Lower Elementary 6-9 Upper Elementary 9-12.

Katie has been in primary for 3 years and the teacher is recommending she stay another. I was thinking with a Montessori school this might not be such and issue or stigma. My husband really hates the idea of her staying behind for this reason. Of course, we shouldn't call it staying behind. Anyway, today I was talking to another Montessori mom with older kids and she said that from listening to her kids that perhaps it still is an issue or stigma and all the kids know who's what year etc. The other mom started kindergarten as a 6 year old and hated it and wouldn't recommend it.

Before talking to her I was leaning toward her staying in primary so that she could be one of the big kids for the first time and really be the oldest, biggest, and smartest in the class. I thought that would be great for her, but if then she is going to lose whatever self esteem gains because kids who aren't much older, or even younger (although I don't think that will be the case this year) than her are a year ahead and to make it worse from the look of how her brother is doing he might be likely to move up from primary to elementary at 5 1/2 whereas if she stays in primary she won't move up till she is a few weeks from 7. So how to answer that question if it comes up: Why is Ben moving up at 5 1/2 when I didn't move up till I was almost 7?

But stilll she is having a hard time with reading and some kids just need more time with stuff like that and there is a lot of primary work she hasn't gotten to yet. She also isn't very assertive and doesn't have the personality to really ask for help. She's more likely to just sit back and observe and wait. If she is starting in lower elementary without strong developing reading skills she will need to be assertive in getting help.

So anyway, I just wanted any opinions from anyone who has come upon this issue whether to start kindergarten w/ a 4 year old or wait a year. Or any type of the same kind of thing either with yourself and how you felt and now feel about it or with your kids.

I'm really torn and not sure what I should do?

Jenn
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#2 of 8 Old 05-05-2003, 11:59 PM
 
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I would move her up because her social well being is just as important as her academic. At 5 1/2, reading well should not even be an issue. Kids are all going to be a different levels for her entire school life and with a mixed grade class she should be mentored by her older classmates. Maybe that is what she is lacking at the moment.

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#3 of 8 Old 05-06-2003, 07:33 AM
 
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By your description of her it sounds as though this would make a difference to her and she would always question it. I would agree with bathrobegoddess that reading should not be an evaluating factor at that age. I remember when my son finally "got it" with reading. One week he wasn't reading, the next week he was: it can happen that quick. I also agree that peers are a powerful motivator--upward or downward depending on the exposure. If your daughter knows she's held back, and then is with very young children most of the time, she might not be motivated to "catch up." If she's with 6-9 yr olds, she might be more likely to strive forward. So, I guess my opinion is to move her on with her classmates and ask the teachers what you can do to work with her at home or over the summer to help her move forward a little more.

I am hearing more about grade retention this year than at any time in the last 20 years. Do any teachers out there know what's going on ? Has there been a major shift in the educational thinking and policy about this? I know two kids this year who are being retained.

 
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#4 of 8 Old 05-06-2003, 11:22 AM
 
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In Colorado, grade retention is manditory IF the child doesn't meet the state set guidelines or if they don't pass all the tests. I don't know about other states but with Bush's "No CHIld Left Behind" policy tied to state funding so heavily, I bet that other states are the same.

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#5 of 8 Old 05-06-2003, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well I think I miss spoke. It isn't that Katie know how to read to move up, but that she is getting the concept of the works leading up to reading and is showing progress toward reading. At the moment she has been working on it since the school year started and hasn't been showing much progress. My thinking, probably along with many of you, is that she just isn't ready. There is a pretty wide range for readiness for reading. She certainly is progressing quickly in math. Plus she likes math and has never shown interest in reading.

Montessori is a little different. Lower elementary which begins at age six really does need at least beginning reading skills and/or a strong drive to get them.

I'm not actually sure about how the peer group works and Katie is an odd age because all the kids who are moving up this year have already turned 6. In fact one turned 6 in september, her birthday is just a little after Katie's. (The teachers actually felt that that child was ready to move up to elementary at mid year, but the child didn't want to move up all by herself.) Most of the time at this school the teachers recommend the student stay in primary unless they are very far advanced or the parents insist they move up.

Unfortunately, there is a very advanced student who would probably move ahead next year at the age of 5 1/2 with Katie and Katie does know that that child is younger.

But anyway, that's some more info. Thanks for the advice so far. Does anybody have any actual experience with this one way or another?

We'll be having our teacher/parent conference in a few weeks and of course I'll ask about all these issues.

Jenn
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#6 of 8 Old 05-06-2003, 03:30 PM
 
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I used to be a teacher and I remember a discussion I had once with some other teachers....the general consensus was that BOYS that are the oldest in the class tend to do well socially. They get their maturity sooner and tend to do better in sports and just be the macho guys of the class when they get older. On the other hand, GIRLS that are the oldest in their class tended to have it harder. They go into that breast development, getting their cycle, feeling awkward with their bodies phase sort of alone, rather than with their classmates.

Now, this is very general and obviously talking about higher grades, but it did seem to hold true with my students.

Just something to consider farther down the road.....
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#7 of 8 Old 05-06-2003, 05:22 PM
 
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There was a girl in dh's montessori class that moved to the lower elementary grade mid-year. Maybe that could be an option?

She will also grow tremendously this summer. Can you wait until September to decide? If she still hasn't improved with her reading, I would honestly be torn! Four years seems like a long time to be in the Primary classroom- she might get pretty bored. OTOH, some of the older kids get a nice boost because they enjoy helping with the younger children. I would use her personality and preferences as the deciding factor, rather than straight-up academics. The lower elementary is still pretty mellow and they would work with her.

Good luck with your decision!
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#8 of 8 Old 05-11-2003, 11:16 AM
 
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As a 7th grade teacher in a public school system i know that there are several factors that are looked at when the decision to retain a child are made. if a student is failing 2 or more academic subjects and maturity level of the student. there are many children that are moved up a grade that should be retained. only so many can be retained. it is harder socially for a child to be retained in the middle grades than it is at the elementary level. sometimes holding a student allows that child to mature a bit more and they are able to succeed at other grade levels.
however, i am not familiar with montessori schools and had been researching charter schools before we moved to a town with out them. i hope this helps.
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