What is your opinion on boys entering (public and private) kindergarten in the fall who have just turned five during the summer? I have had conflicting opinions about my son. Some say he's ready, like his pediatrician and the kindergarten teachers at the private school where my daughter attends, and some (his preschool teachers) say he should do their 4 1/2-day pre-K program. Please let me know your opinion.
From: LisaD, Wrentham
How social is your child? Does he have playdates? Are they reciprocated? Is he able to share? To take turns? What kind of attention span does he have? Can he sit quietly while a story is read? How independent is he? Is he able to generate ideas for his own play? Is he able to put on his winter jacket? What is your child’s temperament? Is he outgoing or slow to warm up?
The point I’m trying to make is that, generally speaking, it is not “academic” skills – not the ability to write one’s name or know the alphabet – that makes a child ready or not. It is the ability to be part of a group in age appropriate ways.
Since these folks have a difference of opinion, I’d want to know what, exactly, makes the preschool teachers think he needs to stay there and what, exactly, makes the kindergarten teacher think he’s ready. Push them to be specific in each case. Sit in on a kindergarten class. Can you picture your son in this environment?
In the end, my advice is to go with your gut. You know your child best. If there is a question in your mind, then I would hold back. (I speak as a parent who did just that and never regretted it.) But there is also a potential downside to holding back: in later grades, your son may well be the biggest, tallest, the first to get a license, the first to go through puberty, etc. All those “firsts” put pressure on a child.
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