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Has anyone moved dc on to first grade against K teacher's recommendation?

547 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  leafylady
Without going into the minute details of our situation, I am just wondering if anyone has been in this situation and decided to put dc in first grade. DS attends a "Waldorf inspired" charter school. The decision is ours to make, and for a variety of reasons we have decided to move him on to first grade rather than have him in K for another year. Basically, we feel that he is very ready for academics and will be bored and not stimulated enough in Kindergarten. He wants to go to first grade. He is, as his teacher says, "young" in some areas, but he is so eager to start learning to read and do math. He already sight reads some words and seems to have an innate understanding of how numbers work. His teacher is concerned about him being able to handle the longer first grade day and stay focused, but we really believe that he will rise to the occaision because he'll be very interested in what he's learning.

I guess I went into more detail than I originally intended.

Anyway, I'm looking for stories/advice from families with similar experiences.

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I have seen similar things happen at out local school but it is private so you can't go on without faculty support (not always the K teacher support). but since it is your choice, if you see him having some challenges with the length of day you could pick him up early and through the year transition him into the longer day, as he is ready for it. plus a lot could happen to his maturity, etc between now and then so this may all be mute!
I hadn't thought of picking him up earlier, but that's a good idea. A friend whose child goes the same school did that for awhile, and now her ds goes to school all day. And I agree that lots could happen in the next four months with regards to maturity. His K teacher thinks his gross motor development needs strengthening, so we're going to work on that over the summer with activities like swimming lessons and gymnastics or karate.

Thanks for the reply/ideas.
I remember when my younger son was in first, the day was only about 45 minutes longer than K, and much of it was devoted to free play.

Most parents commented that their new first graders were very tired at the end of the day, so the go-slow pace was exactly right for them.

Have you met at all yet with the new first grade teacher?
I don't think it's known yet who will be teaching first grade next year. But as of yesterday we are talking very seriuously about taking DS out of school and unschooling, which was our original plan since he was very young. We're beginning to think Waldorf just isn't a good match for his personality. We're also concerned about the size of the classes. Since this is a charter school, the classes are not kept small, and there is only enough room/money for one classroom for each grade. This year's first grade class has 30 students, and just one full-time teacher with an assistant part-time. Dh and I are doing lots of discussion/soul-searching, and it's really beginning to look like we're heading in the unschooling direction.
30 first graders would concern me too - good luck with your decision!
My daughter's class many years ago had 28 students in 1st grade with no assistant. However, I think children nowadays have more problems...just based on stuff I've heard from teachers both public and private.

Her teacher did fine with the large class and so did the kids. She was a young teacher, taking her first waldorf class, but her mother was a waldorf teacher.

It's unfortunate the options are limited, but it's great that unschooling is available for you.

There are many parents I've talked with at conferences and other get-togethers that are enrolled in a Waldorf methods charter school where most of the 'teaching' goes on in the home. It's an adapted "independent studies" program that provides the homeschoolers with a great deal of resources, materials, books, etc., even consultation with experienced educators, and it puts them in touch with a social network with other Waldorf-methods homeschoolers.

There are conditions placed on the parents, and they must meet all together weekly with a teacher who 'oversees' the education, so to speak. I think they must work within state curricular guidelines, for example, and must submit to state required tests and attendance reporting. But these parents I talked to loved the program, and indicated that they felt very supported by the teachers and administrator overseeing the program.

I don't know how widely available programs like this might be, but I thought maybe this may be an option that would interest you too if programs like this exist where you live.

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Linda, apologies for my belated reply--busy days! I haven't heard of such a program associated with ds's school. It sounds like a great option for families who want to homeschool with a Waldorf approach. We're in AZ, a state in which homeschooling has very little regulation, thankfully. We don't have to provide any documentation for anything, so we can truly unschool--so Waldorf materials and concepts will probably play a role, but it's nice to have the freedom to do whatever arises.

Thanks so much for the info!
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I also suggest talking to the first grade teacher. I think it depends more on the classroom behavior and the expectations for behavior. The younger kids really do have a hard time with sitting still, focusing, and knowing when to play or not to play.
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