If you're just joining me, I invite you to read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5.
In the current education environment kindergarten has become an extremely important year. It certainly sets the tone for the primary years of elementary school. When children learn the basics of being in a classroom, listening, sharing, taking turns, and following direction, we can set them up for success in the classroom for years to come.
Holding kids back for sports should not be an option. I believe it sets the wrong tone for education- competitive sports should be secondary to academic development and the love of learning.
I'm sure you probably didn't intend to grossly over-generalize when you commented that those kids with no in-class support have no support at home with homework either. But I just got to represent my peeps - the working moms. It pains me that I am no longer able to volunteer regularly in the classroom due to a full time work schedule (a necessity when I got divorced). I do take time though, in the precious 3 hours between 6 and 9pm when I get to do all my mothering, to go over every stitch of homework that the kids did after school with the nanny that plays me while I'm at work.I in no way meant to imply that parents who can't work in the classroom will be 'doomed' to have children that won't succeed. I truly applaud all that she does as a single parent- goodness knows that I probably couldn't do it. As she pointed out, she (and millions of others I'm sure) works with her children nightly. THAT is what I haven't seen in many of the situations I have been speaking of. It is obvious, when looking at a child's homework packet and classroom behavior whether they have a parent helping and guiding them at home. Whatever your home/work situation, there are ways to make your child understand that learning is important. Reviewing homework on a daily/weekly basis, reading together, and having your child show you his/her classwork are some of the ways to connect with them and convey your interest in their education. Problems can also be addressed and usually minimized when caught early.
If you are the parent of a pre-school age child I urge you to check into the regulations in your state. (Each state department of education will have information available online.) Look at the entrance age for kindergarten. Look at the kindergarten standards. Call your local elementary school and ask for a list of skills that children are expected to have upon entering kindergarten. Doing this can ensure that you are making an informed decision for the education of your child.
Once in school, I believe that listening to your child's teacher is so important. Natalie said it best in the comments on Part 3:
when i suggested that 2 of the kids stay back in my class i was met with hesitation from the parents, but i had a great principal who supported me and helped to convince the parents. i know it was the best thing for the kids. they would have been totally lost in first grade and would have ended up failing. i was the only kindergarten teacher in my school so the kids who were held back thought the reason they got to be in my class again was because i liked them so much. worked out well for them!If your child's teacher suggests retention I recommend listening to the teacher. They are with your child all day- they see and hear how they interact with other children, they work with and test your child on important skills, they know what is expected the next year. Kindergarten teachers love your children and truly want them to succeed in school and have a passion for learning. If starting your child a year later, or if choosing to keep your child in K for one more year can give them the time they need to be truly ready for school, wouldn't you want to give them every opportunity to do well?
I know that each child is different. My children did well in most areas of kindergarten. I know of a few other kids that sailed through K as a 4 year old. I now know of many that should be staying in kindergarten for one more year. In the end, starting 4 year olds in kindergarten seems to be a bad idea. I think Dotty (Sorry! I couldn't find a link for Dotty.) said it best:
Why is everyone in such a hurry to push those little darlings out the door?
And many thanks to Liz for sparking the subject in my mind.