Can we talk about kindergarten? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 110 Old 05-29-2006, 02:25 PM
 
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my 2 cents. my dd just finished grade k at a ps in s. florida and it has been a terrible year for her. we are from new orleans and prior to katrina i had her at home w/ me and doing part time pre-k, where the learning was play centered. at this ps, they "get down to business", and dd never seemed to have much fun cos she was so busy trying to keep up w/ her peers. as a result she also never had much time to make friends. the teacher failed her for lack of reading comprehension. when i had a conference with the teacher she stressed to me that the kids need to be on track to test for the fcat...in fourth grade! so if i want my dd to go to first grade she will have to attend summer school, and the alternative will be to hs. at the present i am looking into a waldorf style hs program, cos i know she will just be unhappy if she returned to that machine they call school. also, this place is a science/technology magnet school, but kindergarten? :
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#62 of 110 Old 05-29-2006, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamajody
I had to quit and move to a different setting because I really felt it was morally wrong to put those kids in an academic straight jacket so early. It was so bloody frustrating to me and the parents. Not to mention that the kids who can't make it are all headed for special education programs now because they will never be able to catch up. Some of them just needed a shorter day and the chance to explore through play rather than have me guide them through everything. Oh, and lets not even talk about the behavior issues. If you wnat the kids to learn social skills they need to be in smaller groups that can opperate freely with an adult model, not like a herd of cattle where they must comply instantly or face "consequences". (shudder)
I am so glad you shared this with us. I have had those same thoughts and concerns but without any evidence or experience. The classification in these scenarious a dangerous one and a dismissive one, imho. They are CREATING learning issues, imho.

And I have heard that a local private school fails students who aren't performing up to their curriculum standards. And yet they do not use the current grade level curriculum but the next. So for example, a 2nd grader fails 2nd grade that was really THIRD grade. And parents just are fine with going along with it.

Mamajody--you have so much to offer your children and other parents. Thanks for sharing it here.
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#63 of 110 Old 05-29-2006, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamajody
Why didn't you guess? The purpose of preschool is to get them ready for Kindergarten!
The reason they start with a curriculum at 2 1/2 is because it takes so $##$%^^% long to teach basic skills to kids that aren't developmentally ready to learn them.
THANK YOU. I totally agree.
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#64 of 110 Old 05-29-2006, 06:58 PM
 
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I found my ECE books today and have been reading them. Conventional KG is completely wrong. It's really really sad. I have tried and tried to fight against this curriculum, but as long as the TAKS test is in place as a major funding source for public schools, they are going to start teaching the test in kindergarten.

One administrator said to me "At least they don't have TAKS in kindergarten."

They shouldn't freakin' have TAKS at all. That's no way to see if a child has learned jack.
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#65 of 110 Old 05-29-2006, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What's ECE?
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#66 of 110 Old 05-29-2006, 08:30 PM
 
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Early childhood education. :nana:
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#67 of 110 Old 05-29-2006, 11:13 PM
 
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BlueNote, I couldn't agree more about TAKS (this is in TX). It is bordering on indecent how much they "teach to the test" in public schools these days. My youngest sister is 16 and she went to private school for her middle school years and she got a much better education than any of the rest of us got in public middle school. It seems like the entire middle school curriculum is geared toward TAKS.

The only good thing is that the exit exam is in 10th grade, so the high school curriculum is more college based and less TAKS based. Unless you fail TAKS, of course, then you spend the rest of your high school career in remedial courses. Barf.
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#68 of 110 Old 05-30-2006, 12:47 AM
 
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We are homeschooling (preschool level) because of all the pressure our family got when DD was **TWO**. If we didn't get her into a good three-year-old program, then she wouldn't get into a good preschool. And if she didn't get into a good preschool, then she wouldn't be prepared for kindergarten, and then...well, impending doom for my beloved girl, I guess.

Too much - I wanted out of that race!

IMHO, I don't think a curriculum is necessary for kindergarten, but if you want to add some structure to your experience, it could be used. I am using a very flexible curriculum very loosely, since I want to follow DD's lead and let her explore and learn on her own at this point.

Since DD has always LOVED to look at books, we are using Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row. This is a literature based curriculum, with activities in math, science, art, etc. tied to each story. You can use FIAR up to age 8, I believe. One caution, there is a religious overtone, but not so much that I would consider it a religious curriculum. I really wanted to have secular materials, but this fits DD's learning style well. I'm supplementing with "From Mudpies to Magnets" and other things. I just try to go with her needs and interests - learning should not be drudgery!

HTH
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#69 of 110 Old 05-30-2006, 12:53 AM
 
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Kindergarten is mandatory in FL. My dd will be going to public school in the fall, i know my neice just finished k and is going into first now and she had homework every night except for weekends, and i think it is like that everywhere here....i'll find out more in the fall. But i just don't think that i could homeschool her and give her the kind of education she needs while having two younger sisters at the house too and housework and all that, plus she loved going to a small pre-k program, she's a social butterfly, so i know she will love kindergarten.
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#70 of 110 Old 05-30-2006, 09:37 AM
 
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My oldest son who is now 12 did not fare well in kind. He had all sorts of problems with being away from me. I ended up taking him out and trying again the next year, a little better but even then had probs. Now, my 6 yo ds is in Kind, and is doing great! reads at a 2nd grade level, and loves school.

So, that leads me to believe that it all depends on the dc, kwim? Some kids "need" to be taught, some kids "need" the structure of kind, and some just arent that kind of kid.

sorry, not nak, but he is wiggling on my lap!!!
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#71 of 110 Old 05-30-2006, 09:10 PM
 
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The ps near us has math and reading homework every night and only full day kindergarten (9-3). Children are recommended for remedial if they aren't reading at the end of the year. I've been worried about this in general and really worried after reading The Hurried Child and Dumbing Us Down. Both of which I liked, neither of which I agreed with 100%.

I'm trying to finish a dissertation and really need time to write so I'm not going to homeschool this year. So, the answer, for us, was Waldorf education. Starting this fall, we're going to enroll DS1 in waldorf kindy and DS2 in a few mornings of Waldorf preschool (so I can write). Waldorf schools have no academics in preschool. The one near us has gardening, playing outside everyday rain or shine, cooking a hot healthy meal everyday, stories, songs, art, and play. That's it. Just mornings (8:30-12:30) no homework, no academics, no grades. I'm clear that these schools are not for everyone, but for us its a blessing and I'm so thankful there's one near enough that we can commute to it (a drive, but we'll handle it).

No we can't afford it. We have an old car and are renters. But I can't homeschool them right now, so we'll do whatever we have to do to afford it. And we'll apply for financial aid too.
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#72 of 110 Old 05-30-2006, 10:45 PM
 
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I totally get the need for our DC to have friends, but i shudder to think of my DD in public preschool next year. I am pulling her out of the school she is at on MY last day of school. I am expecting twins in the fall, and I really want some kind of playgroup for her, but NOT school. I just got a letter from her school today. They are going to present me with her "assessment" portfolio next week so I can review it and attend a parent conference on it! Hello, she is 2! Hopefully the waldorf homeschool playgroup will get off the ground and we can be among sane people again.

Mama to 4 darlings. A ('03), O and K ('06), A ('09), and wife to M since 2002.
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#73 of 110 Old 05-31-2006, 01:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey, I am a twin mama. Its hard, wonderful and exhausting. YOur caring for your twins and your 2yo is going to be the best learning environment your DD can have. What joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Until then, share with us all your thoughts on eduction. YOu have lots to share.
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#74 of 110 Old 05-31-2006, 10:30 AM
 
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Just wanted to add that my dd had homework every night as well, but it wasn't like she was sitting at the table for an hour trying to do something. It took her a total of 5 mins. at the most. It was basically just to see what they were working on at the time.
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#75 of 110 Old 05-31-2006, 10:33 AM
 
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I think the intent of kindergarten has changed since it was instituted. In the past, most kids didn't go to daycare as mom's stayed home. Kindergarten was a place for kids to go to be socialized and prepared for the routine of grammar school. Of course now many kids are in daycare and preschool and don't need that socialization and routine so kindergarten has become a "grade" so to speak.

I haven't thought too much about what I think kindergarten should be like until now. In my town it's only a couple of hours and I've heard not very challenging to bright kids. I will be home school preparing my dd for 1st grade and keeping her at her preschool for the kindergarten year. Frankly I think she'll get more out of her day!

I think at this point and given the poor state of education in this country, either the official school age should be moved up to 6 and have curriculum-based school start then, or kindergarten should have a curriculum that balances learning and play. After all, if they are going to kindergarten to play all day, they might as well stay home or at daycare. Just MHO...

Lisa mom to Gillian (7) : and three : :
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#76 of 110 Old 06-01-2006, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good points CLover Girls.

Hey mamajody, what are your thoughts about reading and writing in the early grades?
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#77 of 110 Old 06-02-2006, 01:43 AM
 
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K has been a good experience for my ds1 (there is lots of info from public school, HSing and private school parents on the Education page)

From my perspective (and if there are any teachers here please prove me wrong) those tests are pretty easy....the schools have to spend very little time covering the material with capable children who receive parental attention and are worried about the most by the parent's of children who tend to do well on them???
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#78 of 110 Old 06-02-2006, 01:54 AM
 
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my dd finished kindergarten this year. it was a shock how academically based it was after the fun and games learning in pre-k. she did well but i still feel guilty b/c it was so regimented. also she experienced some being picked on which may be the norm but not necessary. disciple was an issue. dd is not really able to be still or quiet for too long yet. i'm not looking forward to 1st grade b/c of the discipline issues. i go to the school and see all these kids walking thru the hall with their hands behind their backs like little prisoners and it makes me wonder just what we are letting them teach our kids. i think my problem is more to do with general behavioral expectations than academic ones. to answer the op i don't really think a curriculum per se is necessary as long as they come out able to count (to 100 maybe?) and know their letters, colors, recognize their name, some opposites... i don't know.
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#79 of 110 Old 06-15-2006, 01:30 PM
 
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Dd will be starting kinder in the fall. It is all day. We were given a list of things she should know before she starts. Her full name but she only has to be able to write her first name at least that is what we were told. Her dob, her address, telephone #, gender, her parents names. To be able to count to 20 know her left from right and know her alphabet and her colors. Be able to skip, do a jumping jack, and a somersault. Then we had to take her in and she was tested on this knowledge. Then they (teachers and counselor) would come out and tell you how she scored and if she would be able to attend Kinder or if she would have to come back next year to be retested for kinder. She also had to obtain a library card, & know how to tie her shoes. We did get her a library card and she is utilizing it weekly. She passed her test, they said the only thing she failed was writing her last name. Well her first name is pretty long and I thought she did pretty good writing just that.

They have implemented a new system at school this year. Before you had to memorize a pin # in order to purchase lunch. If you forgot it "x" amount of times you were penalized. I was concerned. She's 5! I can't remember half my pin #'s. but this year thay are going with hand scans. Much better.
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#80 of 110 Old 06-15-2006, 01:44 PM
 
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My mom taught kindergarten for a long time (25 years?) she is retiring this year. She taught half days - I think the kids arrive at 9 and leave at 11:45 roughly. She has a curriculum, but its very play based. Her room is set up with centers and lots of activities for the kids to choose from. She has a letter each week and they do things relating to that letter, etc.

However, she is retiring this year and she thinks the principal is going to hire a new former reading teacher and her guess is that the classroom will end up looking like a first grade classroom next year. (I get to benefit because she's bringing all the stuff she bought over the years for my kids to play with!)

We have DD going to a montessori school half days next year, if that goes well she'll probably go there through kindergarten.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#81 of 110 Old 06-15-2006, 02:07 PM
 
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This thread broke my heart. I did not read all the posts but enough to know that these kids are thrown into and expected to know things way early. 5 yrs old is still so young to have so much expected of you. You have your entire childhood to be sure you can add and read. Why the urgency?

For kindergarten with my 2nd DD all I did was start her with 'Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons" and a few addition problems. That's IT! No writing, no spelling, no phonics. She found the reading boring so we went ahead and bought LLATL blue (1st grade) and she did rather well with her beginner phonics. I had a baby shortly after so we dropped it for about 6 months and picked it back up when she was technically IN first grade. We finished it up and she now reads on a 2nd grade level (she just turned 7). She CAN however, read many words off the assessment list that range from 1st through 5th grade reading. She did well because she was not pressured and she was ready. I have her in Saxon math which tends to be a little advance.. and she thrived beautifully. We skipped alot of it because it was stuff she knew just by living with her family. So she is plenty ready for 2nd grade and not stressed. I think 5 is so young to be hounded and beaten down by the system to know everything. They are just kids. They have plenty of time to learn it. Just my 2c.
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#82 of 110 Old 06-15-2006, 02:31 PM
 
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I just brought my son home from his last day of kinder in ps - they had a school wide picnic for students, families, and siblings with a DJ. It was a great time and it has been a great year for him. It was more academic than I expected, but they broke the kids into groups based on "readiness/interest" and ds learned a bunch and didn't seem stressed about the experience nor did my friend's son who turned 5 a few days before school started and is still not interested in reading at all. He made great friends and learned things I would not have thought to teach him and I don't think it is "sad" that he knows how to read and enjoys reading. Schools certainly should not prevent kids from following an interest in learning new things...be them academic or whatever folks on here think would be more appropriate.

Anyway, that being said I am THRILLED it is summer break. I LOVE having him home and can't wait to have extra time with him. I have missed him very much while he was at school despite the fact that he has been enjoying himself and that ds2 and I have spent so much time there with him.

Have a great summer everyone!
BJ
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#83 of 110 Old 06-16-2006, 10:18 PM
 
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My kids go to public kindergarten here and I think the State requires the children to do too much. They forget that they are only children and they should work at their own pace since all children learn at different paces. The sad thing is the schools here are cutting out or shorten p.e, recess, breaks, and naps.

I do think the program should have a schedule and it should educational but also fun at the same time. I have a problem when the schools sends home homework for a kindergartener to do.
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#84 of 110 Old 06-16-2006, 10:54 PM
 
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This discussion makes me wonder if my girls had reasonably decent K experiences b/c they both had the same teacher who is nearing retirement (e.g. -- she has been teaching for nearly 30 years). While she isn't the most challenging teacher in the world and dds were both academically probably able to do more than she expected, she also didn't put them in a pressure cooker. Perhaps it was b/c this teacher hasn't 'gotten with the game' of the new kindergarten experience.

What is ironic is that I find that my kids (and most, I would suspect) do much better academically when the teacher isn't pushing so much. It almost seems as if the schools are shooting themselves in the foot if their desire is to improve test scores by pushing these little people so much. My older one's test scores went up by btwn 2-4 grade levels last year (depending on the subject) with a teacher who was warm, mommy-like, and let her work at her own pace. While she has always tested "well" -- i.e. she's never been below expectations -- it is amazing what a nuturing accepting of differences type of approach can make.

If I wanted my kids to attend a military school, I'd send them there. Turning early educational experiences into some type of drill is short sighted at best. I have only seen that approach result in failure in the long-run and this is for all children from those who are struggling to the gifted kids. For early elementary students, a love of learning is much more important, IMO, than what grade level the child can read at.
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#85 of 110 Old 06-17-2006, 09:09 AM
 
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For early elementary students, a love of learning is much more important, IMO, than what grade level the child can read at.
Very well said. ITA and if you have a child who doesn't have that love for learning it is going to be hard for both parent and child. I am fortunate in that my child has always loved learning and loves books and reading. But I also know that not all children are like that, and all children learn differently and in different ways.
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#86 of 110 Old 06-17-2006, 08:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hotmamacita
What are your thoughts on kindergarten? Whether you homeschool, unschool, or conventional school, do you think a curricullum is needed?
I haven't read the thread but had to share immediately about research which suggests that kindergarten curriculum and homework etc.... is connected to poor learning, especially for boys! I cannot talk more eloquently since the study is currently in the mail to me for further reading.

The book "Unconditional Parenting" also has thoughts about what truely motivates us human beings.
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#87 of 110 Old 06-17-2006, 08:54 PM
 
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I didn't use a curriculm with my son until 2nd grade and he was homeschooled. I did buy Hooked on Phonics when he was 5 and he was reading by age 5 1/2, but that was it. It was mostly phonics and workbooks and fun, hands on stuff until grade 2.

Around here in the private/public schools the homework that is sent home for a kindergartner is usually something extremely simple and something the parent can usually either do with or 'for' them anyway, so I don't see a big deal with it.

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#88 of 110 Old 06-17-2006, 09:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajody
They are going to present me with her "assessment" portfolio next week so I can review it and attend a parent conference on it! Hello, she is 2! Hopefully the waldorf homeschool playgroup will get off the ground and we can be among sane people again.
Not all preschools are like this. there are others out there you could switch your child to possibly? I don't think waldorf is the only option in most areas. We have a lot of really great preschools in our area that don't focus that much on academics.

Although, I have to say I'm glad my 4 yr old daughter is being taught her ABCs and numbers and learning how to write her own name. She is very hyper and highstrung unlike her older brother and benefits greatly from the interaction with other children all day. She also enjoys learning and is at a great age for absorbing this information that is taught to her in a fun way. I'd seriously be wondering why ANY preschool isn't atleast teaching that much. In fact, if I were 'paying' to send my child somewhere I would expect it pretty much. That's what all children at the age of 3-4 should be in is a "pre-K" class just to help them get ready so they aren't behind at age 5 (or so I thought).

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#89 of 110 Old 06-18-2006, 01:52 PM
 
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I've basically just decided to homeschool at least for a while.
My dd1 is 4 and the school I was most interested in was very different than schools described here. They mix ages somewhat. The first class is a pre-k/k mix. No homework- even up through 4-5th grade. Like the other schools however, it is full day. I just don't like that K is full day and I didn't want to send her to pre-k. I want to go her pace and follow her interests so she's learning what she's most motivated to learn. Hopefully I'll find a good hs group to keep her really connected to other children.
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#90 of 110 Old 06-18-2006, 05:33 PM
 
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My daughter had homework every day in Kindergarten, but she was ok with it. She also had homework every day in 1st grade, but for some reason she LOVES school work.

She's being tested tomorrow for the same gifted program (MERIT) I was in in 2nd - 6th grade so I'm hoping that will get her out of the regular school grind. They do a more creative curriculum and learn in different ways than the regular classrooms. She's been so bored the past two years.

I know a lot of the reason she's done so well is because she learns a lot at home. Some of the other kids are not so fortunate. Only 50 students out of 700 1st graders qualified for MERIT this year. I know a lot of the problem lies with the parents not giving a damn, but also with the school. They have to teach to the slower students and the ones who are able to grasp a concept the first time are not really learning anything new. I'm SO glad she's testing for MERIT, otherwise I'd be afraid of her being incredibly bored in a regular classroom.

In first grade this year she had a child in her class that would throw tantrums, chairs, papers -- whatever he could get his hands on. I honestly don't know why they wait until 2nd grade to funnel the special needs students to a different class. They have programs for the seriously disabled students from K up, but the ones who may have behavioral problems or may not function well in a normal classroom setting fall through the cracks and don't get a good start in their academic careers.

I don't really know where I'm going with this other than to share my experience with the public school here. Overall I'm VERY happy with the teachers she's had. The elementary school is great, but with the higher grades it's a crapshoot.
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