Professor Mom

Chronicles the life of a mom, teacher, and writer trying to stay sane amid the chaos of daily life.

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Omaha Mama's picture Omaha Mama

Phew! It is an exhausting topic, yes? I was right there last year, wondering what to do. My B turned 5 in July. She was in her second year of preschool and had all of the kindergarten readiness skills nailed. People had their own strong opinions about why she shouldn't start, but we had ours about why she should. She is the tallest kindergartner this year and is having a grand time. Her class is at a pace that works for her and she loves (LOVES!) the work that they do. I feel lucky, because it is a lot of work, but she is always wanting more - often coming home and asking to sit at the table to do craft projects, art, or more academic work. I've said more than once this year that I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to be the parent of a child who doesn't love it. Who doesn't get it. Or who doesn't want to get it.
I hope that our B is a learner and not only a producer, I try to foster a lot of that through the stuff we do at home too. The connections she is making are great, betweeen home and school.
I hope that you are at peace with whatever you decide for T, but you are right. Sometimes you just have to make your best guess and go for it!
Great post, btw.


Omaha Mama's picture Omaha Mama

To be clear: our B turned five THIS July, right before starting Kindergarten. She was just four last year, when doing her second year of preschool. My comment didn't seem to state that correctly.


mouse's picture mouse

Scooter's kindergarten teacher is definitely aware of this acceleration. Besides being fueled by more time in preschool, there is also pressure on them to produce kids who will be able to keep up with a curriculum ending in very important tests in a couple years.

When I and my sisters were in school (and the youngest is eight years younger), the reading groups in 1st grade were determined by whether or not a kid was reading. Period. Now they have a point in the kindergarten curriculum that they aim for every child to accomplish by the end of the year. I am at least glad that a lot of this is done individually so that they don't have to divide them up on day one of year one.


gillie's picture gillie

This is something that has very much been on my mind today. Tomorrow Abbey and I go to my old elementary school for "a fun hour of parent and teacher learning" in preparation for her to start kindergarten next year. The prospect actually terrifies me a little. Not so much that she might not be ready. I am not sure I am ready for this.

The educational landscape has changed tremendously in the past thirty-odd years. I keep having nightmares about all the other children will be doing Spanish 3 and trig while Abbers is barely reading and she still has crying jags when her preschool teacher doesn't give Abbey her preferred colour of scissors at craft time. In short, while I think my child is brilliant and well-socialized, what if the world tells me she's not?

Amie


Mary-LUE's picture Mary-LUE

You are right. Kindergarten these days is what first grade used to be. It isn't just kids coming to K ready to learn to read... some of them come already reading.

My daughter's teacher was discussing grading kindergarten writing evaluations today and then she just stopped and looked at me, "Why do we even do that?"

We call what you term "red-shirting" as "a year to grow" here. But it is supposed to be for a kid who needs just that. A year to grow, physically, emotionally, whatever. I do know at least one set of parents who waited to put their kid in because of the sports thing. That drives me crazy.

I'm jumping all over the place. Let me just say that it isn't your imagination; there are lots of reasons for it, but I don't agree with them.


Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Thanks for the good and thoughtful responses. L.'s teacher last year was very aware of the acceleration of kids, too, and she tried very hard to make up for it--and this was second grade! I think the difficult thing is that there's not much we can do about it, is there.

Some kids really do need "a year to grow" and I think L. could have used that as well. And maybe not--not in an ideal world, that is. But when I think about the class dynamics of the kindergarten class he entered into things could have been better if he'd been in a "younger" class (lots of kids in his class were a year older).

It's tough...I'm not sure what the answers are.


ATyler's picture ATyler

Oh, boy! Do not get me started on this topic! Actually, I never stop talking about this! I was just saying to some parents at my Tutor Your Child to Reading Success workshop that we keep raising the bar on kids and then saying that they don't measure up. I am a teacher, and it breaks my heart to see so many little ones feeling "dumb" and their parents being told that they are "behind" or "below grade level" when just a few years ago, nobody would have said anything. This foolishness needs to stop. www.family-homework-answers.com


MEANMOM's picture MEANMOM

MY DAUGHTER JUST TURNED 6 YRS ON OCTOBER 18TH AND SHE IS IN ALL DAY KINDERGARDEN AND SHE LOVES IT. SHE IS LEARNING SO MUCH, ONCE A WEEK SHE HAS TO COPY AND ACTUALLY WRITE A SENTENCE AND SHE DOES IT WELL AND SHE RECOGNIZES ALL HER SIGHT WORDS. ALL DAY MAY NOT BE RIGHT FOR ALL KIDS BUT KIDS SEEM TO BE SMARTER NOW A DAYS AND LITTLE SPONGES THAT IF TAUGHT MORE THEY WILL LEARN MORE. I ALSO LIKE ALL DAY KINDERGARDEN BECAUSE THEIR RECESS/SNACK TIME DOES NOT TAKE AWAY FROM THEIR LEARNING AND I DON'T THINK THEY ARE AS RUSHED.


Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Thanks, A Tyler and meanmom for your comments...I've heard from other parents that all-day k-garten is better, and offers kids more opportunities to learn. I just think it also contributes to the "accelerating kids" phenomenon weer increasingly seeing. But for all the negatives there are tons of positives. Lots of kids love school and my T. is one of them. I know she'll enjoy elementary school, but I also know she might struggle a little, given the pace of today's classrooms.

ATyler--I've heard from lots of parents like you--and I know lots of teachers, too, who are struggling with this.


Hetha's picture Hetha

I've not read the other comments yet, so forgive me if someone has already said this, but your statement about our education system creating producers rather than learners really struck a cord. I used to be a teacher and I was one of those people who bucked the school culture on a daily basis, which is why I'm thinking of alternate careers at the moment. I have several issues with the way we educate children that are too numerous to list, but the fact that we were told to focus all of our efforts on the testing and accountability just made me ill. Children love to think creatively and need to be rewarded for thinking skills, and unfortunately those have gone by the wayside in favor of rigorous and rote memorization of information. That, in and of itself, is enough to drain the enthusiasm for learning from anyone, young or old!