Can we talk about kindergarten? - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 110 Old 06-18-2006, 08:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JenniferH
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....
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.
If you're truly talking about gifted children and not just bright kids who have been hothoused, 50 out of 700 sounds like a reasonable number if not an overidentification of gifted kids. "Gifted" is generally recognized as the top 2% (thus approx. 14 kids out of every 700) although many schools take the top 5% (35 out of your school's 700) b/c there just wouldn't be enough kids in the program otherwise.

I don't see a child being identified as gifted as reflecting on the parents or the schools doing their jobs correctly in any way. Every child can be encouraged to reach his or her full potential, but every child is not going to be gifted no matter how much time we put into teaching him/her. While the idea that we are all gifted is PC and seems to be popular in schools now a days, I only see it putting a lot of pressure on kids to achieve, achieve, achieve and stressing them out. Along with that, the gifted programs then wind up not meeting the needs of the truly gifted kids b/c they aren't recognized as being the truly different creatures that they are (all around, not just academic high achievers).
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#92 of 110 Old 06-19-2006, 12:57 AM
 
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Just finishing Kindy HS here. I don't think K's need any curriculum, but *I* needed something to make me feel I was making progress. We did Bob Books and Phonics Pathways for reading. It helped him in the beginning, but he is now soaring past my paltry attempts at methological progression. We did Handwriting without Tears because he needed to move forward with handwriting (was becoming an issue because his friends could write letters). We need to review more, but he does OK.
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#93 of 110 Old 06-19-2006, 01:26 AM
 
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Welcome to the wonderful world of No Child Left Behind folks!! All this stupidity going down into pre-K is because policy makers have NO CLUE about child development, and the Bush administration has declared that the only valid measure of a child's learning is a test score. (Don't get me started on what they've done to educational research... apparently if it can't be researched like you research pharmaceuticals, it's not really research. No descriptive studies. And I was just at a meeting with a major educational research institution who told me flat out that the Dept of Ed will not let them publish research that doesn't fit 'what they want'.)

The truth of the matter is, most politicians, regardless of stripe are CLUELESS about education and child development.

Children are missing out on a LOT by being rushed academically. They are not learning to LEARN, they are learning to perform. They are not learning to like learning, they are learning to hate homework and be pressured to take more high stakes testing.

The curriculum is completely developmentally inappropriate -- lots of kids are getting labeled as 'behavior problems' who are just normal healthy kids who can't sit still for 4-5 hours at age 5. Some children aren't developmentally ready to ready to read until 7 or 8. Really. Nothing wrong with them. But they will be labeled as failures before they leave 1st grade.

Our local K demands that children be reading by the end of K in order to go into first grade. Thankfully, we have a lovely, Reggio Emilio based daycare program that our kids can go to for K (though it's going to break the bank -- we're going into serious debt to do this!). It is all day, but it's very, very play based and non-stressful. No homework. They go on weekly walks in the woods. They have a rest time after lunch.

We don't have the money to send them to private school for 1-5 (I'm OK with the middle school/high school options), so we're going to have to duke it out with the public schools about focus. But I won't have my kids go to a kindergarten with such high stakes. (Homeschooling is not an option right now, mostly because I have the full time job with the health insurance, and I don't think I could talk dh into doing it.) But we've struggled mightily with the decision to send them to our local school.

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#94 of 110 Old 06-19-2006, 10:10 AM
 
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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.
Sounds like my dd.

My dd's school is a magnet school and you have to test to get into that class. I also plan to have her test to get into that program.
I have a friend whose dd is gifted and has taken merit classes thru middle school, she had told me that is one of the reasons why she was okay w/her going to a ps. She told me the private school would not be challenging enough for her. And she is not really in any classes w/the mainstream kids so she does pretty well. She said her son OTOH she may have to consider putting in private school b/c he is not gifted and would fall into following the crowd.

I think it in part it depends on your child and not only what they can do academically, but how well they can handle peer pressure and whether or not they are followers or leaders.
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#95 of 110 Old 06-19-2006, 10:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6
Welcome to the wonderful world of No Child Left Behind folks!! All this stupidity going down into pre-K is because policy makers have NO CLUE about child development, and the Bush administration has declared that the only valid measure of a child's learning is a test score. (Don't get me started on what they've done to educational research... apparently if it can't be researched like you research pharmaceuticals, it's not really research. No descriptive studies. And I was just at a meeting with a major educational research institution who told me flat out that the Dept of Ed will not let them publish research that doesn't fit 'what they want'.)

The truth of the matter is, most politicians, regardless of stripe are CLUELESS about education and child development.

Children are missing out on a LOT by being rushed academically. They are not learning to LEARN, they are learning to perform. They are not learning to like learning, they are learning to hate homework and be pressured to take more high stakes testing.

The curriculum is completely developmentally inappropriate -- lots of kids are getting labeled as 'behavior problems' who are just normal healthy kids who can't sit still for 4-5 hours at age 5. Some children aren't developmentally ready to ready to read until 7 or 8. Really. Nothing wrong with them. But they will be labeled as failures before they leave 1st grade.
I totally agree. My children have been lucky enough to go to play-based kindergartens. However, because of NCLB, starting from last school year they, did have to "test" in kindergarten and now have to provide report cards, which IMO for kindergarten is a joke. Even though my [younger] children were in a great Waldorf inspired, arts integrated, multiple intelligences public school, they won't be going back next year. I am going to homeschool DD and DS will be in 1st grade in a private school.

It would be great if all these early academics and all these tests worked, but it is all to obvious they haven't done squat to improve the education of our children.

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#96 of 110 Old 06-19-2006, 10:57 AM
 
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Sorry to double post on the same thread, but it is so weird to me to read some of this. We live a school district that has a history of testing well and a very high percentage of highly qualified teachers and I have heard from teachers and parents that they are not concerned if kids are not reading in K because many kids are not ready until later (I don't know about 1rst as ds just finished up K and I am not up on what happens in first grade yet : ) . OTH many kids are ready to read in K or are already reading at the start of K - they are excited about it and it comes easily to them. That is why they break them into many different reading groups - all kids are not the same and don't need the samething. Some kids would struggle with having reading pushed at them and other kids would not enjoy a day with no academic challenges. It is an interest conversation when looking at it from the perspective of the schools/teachers --- how can the schools win when so many people want so many different things? At one point ds received homework from kinder and I told his teacher he didn't want to do it and she said it didn't matter to her if he did - she sent it home because so many PARENTS WERE ASKING for homework.

Anyway, it seems that despite the horror of NCLB and increasing expectations in society that kids will be doing everything early experienced and sensitive teachers and parents realize that kids should be evaluated individually. Some need some more time before these skills kick in and shouldn't be made to feel behind whereas others are ready and embrace some learning these things and should have the option of pursuing them available.

Thanks for the interesting perspectives ladies,
BJ
Barney & Ben
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#97 of 110 Old 06-19-2006, 12:02 PM
 
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My 6 1/2 year old would be just finishing kindergarten if we had done PS. We homeschooled. K is not mandatory in MA, and our PS K is half day.

I bought Oak Meadow, but we ended up doing what I think of as education by conversation. We talk about what's going on, and what interests him, and find books and such to learn more (if he requests it, or seems interested). He makes up games to work on his math (not that he thinks of it that way). The other day he made lines on the floor and he and his brother threw paper airplanes at them and added up their scores. He understands multiplication. He's very strong willed, so he isn't always working on what I would like to see him working on -- for instance, I wish he would write more, and although he can read, he resists sitting down and reading a book (and generally, I don't push it). I've seen enough of what he does to have confidence that he will learn what he needs, and that eventually he'll get to the things he's not doing now (like reading books independently and writing). I read aloud to him -- right now his bedtime choice is Story of the World (ancient history). We're a TV family, and he's learned lots of math from Cyberchase. We have a good HS group, and he plays t-ball locally, so he gets to see his friends on a regular basis.

Anyway, just one more flavor of K. Choosing to opt out of PS was difficult, but I'm happy with where we are. More on my blog: http://www.everydaybest.blogspot.com/

Alison
Mama to three boys: 2, 4, and 6 1/2
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#98 of 110 Old 06-19-2006, 12:33 PM
 
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Subbing. DS is 4 and I'm struggling with what to do for his schooling. He has some speech delays, so we've done speech testing. He hates testing of any kind -- has never been a show-it-off kind of kid. You know how parents often coach their toddlers to show off? DS would never do any of it. I've tried a couple homeschool pre-k worksheets with him, just to try to get an idea of where his pre-reading skills are, and he hates those too. I only try every couple weeks. I need to be better organized and get a homeschool routine in place if I'm going to do homeschool, but I'm just struggling with whether to have him go to the special needs preschool, and possibly kinder, to help with his speech. Sigh. Anyway, don't mean to hijack -- I'm just enjoying this thread.
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#99 of 110 Old 06-19-2006, 01:08 PM
 
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I am so terrified to send our DS#2 to kindergarten. He went to preschool last year and did "ok". Basically he hates to write on demand. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. I know he needs a structured school setting, but we cant afford the private prekindergarten costs, but dont qualify financially for the public prekindergarten. So i am forced to send him to kindergarten (he turns 5 on sept 19th, so age-wise he is at a disadvantage) I am expecting that he will have to repeat kindergarten..which is fine with me b.c i dont want to push him, but i am afraid that the pressure of kindergarten this year will sour his thinking towards school. My first born was more academically ready for kindergarten IMO, and yet he still finished the end of the year at average-to-above-average. Here's hoping my Gabriel gets the same teacher as Jacy had b/c she was the best.
I'd think about HS-ing him, but with a newborn in the house i am afraid i wont be able to give him the "schooling" attention he needs. We still ahve a few months to think about it before any definate decsions are made.

Aron Mama to 6 homeschoolers -- 12, 10, 8, 5, 3, baby

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#100 of 110 Old 06-19-2006, 03:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by shoefairy3
I am so terrified to send our DS#2 to kindergarten. He went to preschool last year and did "ok". Basically he hates to write on demand. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. I know he needs a structured school setting, but we cant afford the private prekindergarten costs, but dont qualify financially for the public prekindergarten. So i am forced to send him to kindergarten (he turns 5 on sept 19th, so age-wise he is at a disadvantage) I am expecting that he will have to repeat kindergarten..which is fine with me b.c i dont want to push him, but i am afraid that the pressure of kindergarten this year will sour his thinking towards school.
<snip> (
My dd is turning 6 on Friday. I kept her in preschool an extra year so
she is starting Kinder this Fall. Academically she is on target or ahead
for her age group, but emotionally I felt she needed that extra year.
Not to be ready for Kinder, but just to be a kid. I felt that extra year
could benefit her all threw school. I would rather she be one of the
oldest in her class, than one of the youngest. My dd's nature is to
follow those older than she, and lead with those younger. It just made
sense.
From reading threw this thread I am so glad my dd is in the school
she is in. It's a small rural church school. They give so many choices
to the parents. In dd's last year of preschool you can choose 3 or 5
days a week. We did five day, and on those two extra mornings dd
got to play on the computer with a art program, play hand bells, and
had long gym periods. They made puppets and did a small play for
the parents on graduation day.
This coming Fall for Kinder you can go half a day or full day. If you
go full day the second part of the day is free play. My dd is a child
who craves school structure. So she is attending full day. I like that
we are given choices. I love how kids are allowed to be themselves
and not learning just to be tested. Plus the price is very reasonable.

I feel so lucky reading this thread. If I was in the area's where private
school is too much money and the public school was test happy I
would be HSing, but that would be a disservice to my dd who is
much happier in a school system.

Much love to all of those who posted.

-Janna, independent mother of dd, Ms. Mattie Sky born on my 25th birthday, 06*23*2000. My Mama Feb.21,1938-Sept.10,2006
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#101 of 110 Old 06-19-2006, 06:57 PM
 
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I swear reading this thread makes me so thankful we live where we do. My ds will turn 6 next month and went to a 1/2 day, play based Sudbury-style Kindergarten in our local school. I can't imagine these schools where the kids have to read coming out of Kindergarten, have to sit still for 4 or 5 hours a day, have homework or any of these other things I'm reading about...

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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#102 of 110 Old 06-21-2006, 04:18 PM
 
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We plan on HSing and I don't think we'll use a curriculum either. I might feel different if my ds liked workbooks and "school type" things, but he runs the other way so we'll play it cool for kindergarten

Liz~A wife and homeschooling mother to two gifts from God!
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#103 of 110 Old 06-27-2006, 03:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Nemmer-

My son has had speech differences although we've never had him tested. They have worked themselves out with my patience and gentle redirection at the right time. He's four too and he's approaching five soon and his speech has improved a lot in the past few months.

We have decided not to do kindergarten. It just doesn't seem to make sense to us. Its not required in our state and we feel led to just start him our in first year next year when he is older. He is learning at home by being a a member of the family and with us and around his older sibling when she has lessons. But he also NEEDS to play. He has energy that expands and I can't see him being responded well to in a classroom setting with the expectations mandated for students so young. I agree with Steiner's stages of development more and more. (But some of his other writings make my head : )

We have talked with local parents and nurses in the past few months and have learned a lot and come to the conclusion that schools may be institutionalizing young children through strict testing preparation and through teacher/committee recommended medical intervention for add and adhd.

We'd be glad to send them to school if we felt they'd truly get an education nowadays. We are about to pay our property taxes and bitterly feel this is our payment to homeschool. We just wish our money were going to really educate children in the school system.
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#104 of 110 Old 06-29-2006, 01:40 AM
 
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Well this is educational and making me feel good about our choices right now. DS happens to be too young for K this year because of a dec b.day and it's been a blessing in disguise. We are going to homeschool this yr using the Enki Kindergarten curriculum. "Curriculum" in a loose sense because kindergarten in enki, as in waldorf, is very much based around daily home life, but having the curriculum is helpful for me in having a direction and a wealth of stories, art projects, etc to drw form. He's been in a waldorf school till now so has gotten used to and really benefitted from some kind of clear rhythm to his day. We'll do that 3 days a week, and one day a week go to the woods or becah, and another day we go to a mixed age co-op playgroup.

We're having such a great time already I find it hard to imagine applying for ps next year...we moved to berkeley because of the supposedly good, progressive schools, but i won't know how i feel till i actually see them.
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#105 of 110 Old 06-29-2006, 11:52 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?
Just thought I'd jump in here, I have read most of the other posts. It is alarming to me as well that children at 5 and 6 in traditional K are being treated so roughly. I teach in Montessori. The Montessori program lets each child work at his own pace and with what is interesting to him. So, if your child is interested in learning numbers, letters: the materials are there. If your child wants to bake bread and paint pictures, play music, or just talk with friends, that choice is also available. We do find that most children are interested in learning "academics"...when left to initiate themselves and not forced to prove their knowledge through extraneous testing. Of course, each child learns at her own pace. This is a 3 year program: the directress gets to know each child's strengths and weaknesses and interests. The child knows what to expect and can continue where he left off, not where the admin. says he should be. When we seek to find out the child's level of understanding, we simply observe him when using the materials: the child has no idea she is being "tested". Additional lessons are then planned to help the child understand the concept better, if needed. There is no assigned curriculum, no pressure and no tests!

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
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#106 of 110 Old 06-30-2006, 12:07 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?
We homeschool. SO in our situation, no a curriculum is not needed. Let them develop at their own pace and don't push anything on them they aren't ready for.

However, for the purposes of public school, a curriculum would totally be needed. Because those children MUST know certain things by the end of the school year. If they don't they will be behind and unprepared to take the standardized tests that they have to take every year. The school system has to cram so much into each year that they leave no time for personal development. So yes those teachers need to follow a curric in order stay on schedule.
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#107 of 110 Old 06-30-2006, 12:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amseiler
...If they don't they will be behind and unprepared to take the standardized tests that they have to take every year. The school system has to cram so much into each year that they leave no time for personal development.
Honestly, I'd have to say that good teachers, even in PSs, aren't this rigid.

The kids start taking standardized tests for NCLB in 3rd grade, so there is some time in which to get them prepared. Don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of these tests. What I am getting at is that teachers who push, push, push in K and 1st are misguided IMHO since there is no need to have kids performing like little trained monkeys that early.

My older dd's second grade teacher really did make an effort to let the kids explore their personal interests. DD, for instance, loves the ocean and we adopted a manatee for her class through the Save the Manatee Club. The teacher adapted the entire science curricula for a week or so to study sirenians of the wild (the group to which manatee belong). She also let dd spend some of her reading time writing "books" b/c dd was already doing very well in reading and had developed a real passion for writing as well.

The ironic thing is, that her 1st grade teacher took the drill 'em on the facts approach and dd made very little academic progress that year until we took her out and homeschooled her. The next year with a more laid back approach and room to explore her real interests, her test scores went up btwn 2-3 grade levels in everything that year.

My point is, that a child led approach can work in a PS with a good teacher and often results in better test scores anyway so it truly doesn't make sense
to cram in information using flash cards and anything you can do to prep them for standardized tests. It is counter productive regardless of which result you are looking for (happy kid or good test scores). The two seem to go together although I agree that many teachers and schools have not gotten this fact.
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#108 of 110 Old 06-30-2006, 01:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amseiler
However, for the purposes of public school, a curriculum would totally be needed. Because those children MUST know certain things by the end of the school year. If they don't they will be behind and unprepared to take the standardized tests that they have to take every year. The school system has to cram so much into each year that they leave no time for personal development. So yes those teachers need to follow a curric in order stay on schedule.
I've never seen a teacher this rigid, either. Our teachers have a curriculum in order to do similar things every year and teach kids what they need to know. Not because they aren't creative or only teach to the test.

All kids in school need to know certain things by the end of each year. Otherwise, what is the point of school?

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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#109 of 110 Old 06-30-2006, 03:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jkpmomtoboys
All kids in school need to know certain things by the end of each year. Otherwise, what is the point of school?
Well, that is the point of school. Some would argue it's not the point of education though. Different children will be developmentally ready and/or interested in different things at different times, so an environment in which every child must learn the same things at the same time by the end of the year is not an ideal education, IMO.

And teaching kids "what they need to know" is also variable. Who says that my 5yo and your 5yo "need" to know the same things? I'm sure they have different interests. And who decides what a child "needs" to know? Those are some of the issues I have with institutional school, especially for the kindergarten/elementary years.

But I know that some schools are most definitely better than others, and it sounds like you have access to one with a good environment. I was not blown away by any of the public or private schools that we saw. They most definitely had a curriculum, and although in the private schools many of the teachers were creative in how they taught the curriculum, it still would not have allowed my son to learn about outer space (his current obsession) because they have Ancient Egypt on the curriculum for that year.
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#110 of 110 Old 07-01-2006, 03:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mattemma04
School K programs vary a great deal from play learning to regular academics.Many complain that grade 1 material has been pushed down onto K students.Sometimes it works out fine,but not every kids can do the work.
K programs probably do vary alot. My husband thinks our area "dumbs down" the K program. The require that a child knows his upper case and hopefully lower case ABC's, can count to thirty, write some letters and a few other things. My dd misses the school cut off by 4 weeks here, so she's getting another year of co-op preschool. She is doing beyond what kids need to know to graduate kindergarten- she's reading beg. books, can write all her letters, count up to 50 and recognizes past ten written. We considered testing her in, but since we aren't putting her into public school anyways, decided not to. She is obviously learning enough w/out being in school.

At this point in time we are planning on using the Family Resource center (through the school district) the year after next, and she'll be able to take classes that she wants to through them, basically home schooling w/some outside supplemenation.
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