Kindergarten in Somerville

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from mshiffer. Show mshiffer's posts

    Kindergarten in Somerville

    My fiancée and I live in Somerville and have a son who will be 4 in Dec. We're starting to look for schools and have discovered two things. First, there is a hard age cut-off for children entering kindergarten and that testing in is "not allowed". Second, the people I have spoken too in order to get information about this policy are extremely hostile about it--questioning it seems to be paramount to treason.

    Has anyone had any experience with this issue who might be able to a)explain the history and associated hostility about this subject and b) has anyone tried and either successfully or unsuccessfully fought this policy? I have a background in psychology and neuroscience and I agree with a policy that keeps non developmentally prepared kids out of kindergarten. I am also aware that children mature at different rates and that a strict age cut off is not really the best implementation of this policy... testing is far more appropriate.

    Any information or experiences anyone has had with this here in Somerville would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mark
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    Testing may be more appropriate, but it's cheaper and easier [not to mention legal] to have age as a cut off for when a child can start kindergarten.  If that's their policy, I don't see how you are going to get around it.  I am sure your child is very smart, but don't see the point in trying to counter this.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    I agree with Alf. Also, you say that you've experienced hostility from "people" -- what people?
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    Also, school districts really have to make the rule hard and fast and allow no exceptions.  They would have a zillion parents breathing down their necks because they are convinced their child is exceptional and they don't want to hear differently from the schools.
    Testing may be more appropriate, but aside from the expense issue that alf mentions, it is much easier to argue with a test than with a birth date.  Any test can have detractors, even (especially!) from within the education or cognitive development communities.
    Another thing to keep in mind: nobody should be hostile to you for making inquiries.  However, the person fielding your call has probably fielded a lot of similar calls from other parents, and it's more that likely that some of those parents have been quite hostile themselves.  So the person you spoke to may be steeling themselves for a confrontation, even though I'm sure that's not your intent.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    I was thinking that the "hostile" person is probably thinking, "dude, I just answer the phones here. I can't get your genius into kindergarten."

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    My mom taught kindergarten and was an early education specialist.  She is staunchly against testing out of the 5 year old age restriction on kindergarten even for her own child - I taught myself to read from Sesame Street at 3.  Her opinion is that there is a dramatic difference developmentally between a 4 and 5 year old, and to ignore that and allow a 4 year old into kindergarten sets that child up to be behind emotionally/developmentally than his/her class forever no matter how smart they are or how many kindergarten skills they might already have at that age.    That's not to say that all 4 year old kindergartners end up with issues, but it's a risk factor that's not necessary to introduce.  No harm comes to a child by waiting, and possible harm does come to a child by not waiting, harm that can be hard to identify until it's difficult to undo.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    You may find that private schools are a bit more flexible than the public schools.  I'm mostly thinking of a Montessori-type environment where the lines between "grades" are blurry.  I think Waldorf schools are similar to Montessori in a lot of ways, but I don't know as much about them other than casual mentions in conversations.  If cost is a concern, I think many private schools have "scholarship" programs which may help.  Otherwise, I'd say to enroll your son in a fantastic pre-school and enroll him in kindergarten next year.  Who knows, you may be vindicated later on if the school feels he needs to skip a grade. 

    Just as a point of conversation....  It seems that I've heard a lot recently about parents waiting an extra year to enroll their sons in kindergarten (when they're 6 rather than 5).  This seems to be especially true of those born in the summer months (i.e. closer to the cut-off date) in order to give them time to mature and, the belief is, give them more of an advantage when they do start school.  It's interesting to hear about parents who want to enroll their son "early" given that the trend is the opposite.  So...that's something else to keep in mind that if you were to enroll him at age 4, quite a few of his male classmates may be age 6 or older and that may put him at more of a disadvantage socially than if everyone else was only a few months older than he is.  Developmentally, I think there's a pretty big difference between most 4 year olds and most 6 year olds.  If you think about your child getting older and hitting puberty (which is tough, regardless) 2 years behind his male classmates, and being 16 when some of them are turning 18, etc., you may be able to start to see where the school system is coming from.


     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    In Response to Re: Kindergarten in Somerville:
    [QUOTE]No harm comes to a child by waiting
    Posted by kargiver[/QUOTE]

    Plus the kid will be super-popular when he can drive before his classmates.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    Indeed, a "disadvantage socially" - that's what I was trying to say.  Kindergarten is as much about learning social skills as it is about technical skills, and just because your 4 year old is there doesn't mean he will be magically ready to interact socially as if he were 5.  Think of how much your child developed between ages 1 and 2, 2 and 3, and 3 and 4.  That's how much he'll change between 4 and 5.  Putting him in there with kids 5 and even 6 (Daisy, I had no idea they were doing that, now) is putting him at a distinct disadvantage.  What is the point of rushing kindergarten and having a socially, emotionally, and physically "behind" child all the way through school?

    Lemon, you crack me up!
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    I think it's called "redshirting?" I haven't paid much attention but it's one of those things that parents are supposed to get mad at each other about.

    Kar, I palled around with a brutish girl who tongue-kissed my boyfriend in front of me, simply because she had a car (actually a truck). She was nothing without that license, nothing!
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    Interesting; I'd never heard that term, but just looked it up.

    No way!  What a b1tch!
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatriciaFD. Show PatriciaFD's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    Let's be clear about this  - you are looking for free daycare.  Nothing wrong with it -but this isn't about seeking educational opportunities for your child.  Do you really want you child to be the youngest in the class?  What purpose at all would that serve?  If you truly think your child is advanced, then seek out enrichment opportunities elsewhere.  
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    I'm surprised to hear "redshirting" is so controversial!  A friend of mine has a son who could have entered kindergarten this year because he turns 5 in November.  She chose to keep in in pre-k until next year due to maturity.  He will turn 18 in November of his senior year of high school.  Makes sense to me!

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    Article about the "redshirting" in kindergarten phenomenon:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/fashion/22Cultural.html?scp=1&sq=The%20Littlest%20Redshirts%20Sit%20Out%20Kindergarten&st=cse
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from rysmom. Show rysmom's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    I thought "red shirting" was keeping a kid back in 8th grade for the purpose of being better at sports.

    Here in Worcester the cut off for Kindergarten is late, 12/31.  I have to admit that I am wishing we kept our son out a year.  He is now struggling in first grade.

    To the OP - I have found our schools difficult to get info from unless you are enrolled.  I am sure it is an issue lots of places.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    In Response to Re: Kindergarten in Somerville:
    [QUOTE]I'm surprised to hear "redshirting" is so controversial!
    Posted by framerican51008[/QUOTE]
    I think it's probably not. People like to pretend that parents are warring with each other over stupid stuff.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    In Response to Re: Kindergarten in Somerville:
    [QUOTE]Let's be clear about this  - you are looking for free daycare.  Nothing wrong with it -but this isn't about seeking educational opportunities for your child.  Do you really want you child to be the youngest in the class?  What purpose at all would that serve?  If you truly think your child is advanced, then seek out enrichment opportunities elsewhere.  
    Posted by PatriciaFD[/QUOTE]
    You have no way of knowing if that's the OP's intent, so let's not get all j'accusy. Somerville has public pre-K at the Cap school. The school has an excellent reputation, but spots are limited. The OP isn't talking about how he wasn't able to get into public pre-K. He says that he wants his kid to test into kindergarten.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from bostonslp. Show bostonslp's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    I also think that at any K program (public or private) you need to factor in that children will turn 5 AL YEAR long.  It would be impossible for a district or private program to have an unlimited of slots and possibility of expansion to meet the needs of all children who turn 5 after the first day of school.  There is no way to budget for this.  It all comes down to money and that is the true answer. 
    Testing would only add to this cost and I can't think of a single school that has more money than they know what to do with. 

    Then, think of the constant stream of new kiddos coming into the classroom all year - that would be disruptive to the other children who were there from day 1. 
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    I'm with Fram, stunned that it's such an issue, too, that parents would give each other a hard time about when their kids start school.  I'd hope that there would be a common goal of having a homogenous group maturity wise so that everyone in class could learn at an optimal pace for the median maturity level.  If there are kids on the extreme low or high ends of maturity for a five year old, it messes up the whole class dynamic.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    I just wanted to add a little perspective beyond the good points that people have already made about development and readiness for kindergarten and early elementary grades. I see the effects later down the road in middle and high school. In general, students who begin school older rather than younger have noticeable advantages when the material requires more abstract thinking and executive functioning, both of which are developmentally dependent. Generally, the students I see who are 16 as sophomores, 17 as juniors, and 18 as seniors have an advantage developmentally over their classmates which often manifests itself in higher grades. That's no small consideration given the competitive nature of the college admission process. Add to that the high-stakes social pressures of high school (e.g. drinking, drugs, s*x, etc.) and you'll be glad to have an older, more developmentally mature child grappling with these issues. 
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    One thing not mentioned here, too, is the FUN of school - not a silly, useless notion to be dismissed but a requirement to get the momentum going for a lifetime of joyful learning, friendships, and emotional and academic growth.  Starting emotionally behind his classmates will make befriending others very difficult.  He'll be seen as a "baby" by the others, picked on, laughed at, and put down for just being his natural, albeit smart, 4 year old self.    Why would a parent set their child up to hate school starting in kindergarten?
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from RedFishBlueFish. Show RedFishBlueFish's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    Every child is different, but every school system has to set rules to make it work. If you want to follow different rules, you can pay for the privilege.

    But I would like to point out that starting early does not automatically mean that a child will be behind his or her classmates and will definitely suffer. I was young for my grade (late August birthday) and was always top of the class and went on to the highest-rank schools. I had plenty of friends in college who were my age or even younger (December birthdays) for the grade level and did exceptionally well, socially and academically. Please don't assume that a parent will be setting a child up to fail, because it's just not always true.

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    Yes, I'm sure we all agree that it's a given that it's not a problem in every case, but it's still not random and baseless to insist that kids wait until their are 5 to enter kindergarten.  There are exceptions to every rule, but service institutions like schools have to make decisions based on the majority with respect to average human development considerations as well as with funding and other ancillary issues in mind.  If a parent is deriding it completely saying what a travesty it is, maybe these issues haven't been fully explored.  The potential danger of any decision is worth discussing even if the negative ramfications don't occur every single time.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    Most schools won't adjust the timetable.  My son turned five 13 days after the August 31st cut off date and he had to wait until he was almost 6 to start kindergarten.  He is one of the oldest in his class.  

    ETA: I live in Somerville, but my son goes to a catholic school.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from KEK. Show KEK's posts

    Re: Kindergarten in Somerville

    This has been going on for years.  I can still remember my mother bringing me to school to try to get me enrolled a year early.  I missed the birthday cut off date by 2 weeks.  They wouldn't budge.  I entered kindergarten when I was almost 6 and reading very well.  In first grade, I was being sent to the library to read on my own while the other kids were being taught.

    I always did well in school but the other kids caught up.  There have been many studies that show that early reading isn't necessarily an indicator of greater intelligence.  Looking back, I feel the late start was the best thing for me.  I was a little more mature than a lot of my classmates and it served me well when I entered High School. 

     

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