Our daughter recently started 2nd grade at a new school, and after 7 days, we were asked to come into the school to meet with her two teachers and the principal. What we were told is that after some initial testing and school work at this level, they recommend that she go back to the 1st grade. However, they are leaving the decision up to us, and have assured us that they will support our decision, whatever it may be, including getting Mary the help she'll need if we choose to let her continue on with the 2nd grade.
So far she seems very excited about her new surroundings and eager to attend 2nd grade. She is generally a very happy child who seems to have no trouble fitting in with other kids her age, and seems to love going to school, learning new things, and making new friends. Upon approaching her about the subject of trying the 1st grade again she initially got upset and emotional, and stated she preferred to stay in 2nd grade.
My initial reaction to their recommendation is to get Mary the extra help she needs to continue on with the 2nd grade, and to at least try to bring her up to speed. However, my wife believes we should go by their recommendation because she is so far behind. I realize that there may not be any right or wrong way of doing things, but I'm very concerned about any psychological or adverse social affects it may have on her if she is sent back to 1st grade after already starting 2nd grade, especially at a new school. Are we giving up to easily on 2nd grade now if we send her back? I'm afraid that she could become a target for teasing or bullying by some of her peers once it is known she was sent back to 1st grade. Am I being too over protective? Once the school year starts could it be more damaging to sending her back, even if it is only 7 days, compared to her repeating from the start? May it be worse to continue on with 2nd grade, and have her struggle, and then have her repeat 2nd grade anyways? Could her repeating 2nd grade next year be more embarrassing for her then or set her back further academically?
Any insights you offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Barbara.
From: Jack, Norton, MA
Teachers have the best seat in the house when it comes to evaluating children because they have a large base from which to make comparisons. In my experience, they do not make recommendations like this lightly. I would take their advice.
Keep in mind that they could also have just given you a heads up that they are keeping an eye on her, that she seems to be struggling, and that they want to give it a little more time. But they didn't take a "wait & see" approach. They recommended to do it, and do it now.
As far as your concerns that she might be teased by her peers, I would be worried if this were third grade or higher. But children this age are much more forgiving than they will be in just a few more years. However, I absolutely would have a meeting with the second and first grade teachers, together, so that everyone understands the issues and also to see what ideas the teachers in both grades have about helping her with the transition, second grade teachers for smoothing her departure, and first grade teachers for transitioning her entry, for instance, assigning a "buddy" to her. Even ask to visit the class she would be in, to see how you think she would fit in there, if that will make you more comfortable.
By the way, that this is a new school makes it easier, not harder, to put her back now. If you wait until the end of second grade, kids will be quick to look at her as not smart enough for third grade. But because it's early in the year and a new school, it can be explained away by saying the school made a mistake. I don't see that as a mis-truth.
No child likes the idea of "going back" but this is not a child's decision to make. It is your decision. If you decide to do it, tell Mary that this is a decision for parents. You listened to her opinion, and you also talked to the teachers and this is what you decided. Don't waffle once you tell her. Let her know that you know she can make the adjustment, that you will help her, and the teachers will help her. Honestly, it sounds like your daughter is someone who will be able to make the social transition without much difficulty.
We put huge expectations on our children these days. I'm betting you will not regret buying her this extra time.
Any teachers out there who can offer advice? Or parents who have been through this?
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