Friday, June 6, 2008

The Kindergarten Question- Part 4- The Parent Factor

If you're new to this series you may want to go here, here and here first. Welcome!

Make no mistake- we live in an upper-middle class neighborhood. Many of these kids would be considered privileged by most standards, yet there are very few parents who volunteer the time in the class on a regular basis. What I have found is that even when a parent is a regular in the classroom it does not guarantee the younger child's success.

As a case in point one boy in the class has been a problem all year long. He regularly disrupts the class by talking out of turn, interrupting the teacher, squirming and touching other children when it is 'listening time.' About 6 weeks ago the teacher began having her retention meetings with the parents of the children that she thought should stay back, (these conversations start with the first report card in November.) Because I also help with 1 on 1 testing I know that this child is behind in standards as well- things that other kids have tested and passed in January, he is still having trouble with, and in some areas not.even.close.

For a few weeks this boy's mother was in the class- not to help the teacher, but to get her son 'caught up' to move on to first grade. This child would not even behave with his mother in the room. This child does not: have ADD/ADHD, have a learning disability, does not have a 504 plan for special circumstances. He is merely a boy who started K at 4 who really needed another year to grow up to be ready for what the state and federal government think that kids should be ready for at 4. It is absurd.

This may all seem contrary to my point, however, those children that have no parental support in the classroom also seem to have no support with homework completion and seem to not be read to. Many of these parents are scratching their heads wondering why their teacher is recommending the child stay in K next year. Unfortunately, many are sending them to 1st grade anyway. If they were kept in K the children would have a chance to catch up, academically and socially, and be ready for the jump to full day school, the faster pace, and the added homework level. Parental support, in and out of the classroom, is key in a child's success, especially if the child starts kindergarten on the young side.

Please join me in a couple of days for my conclusion to this series including tips for knowing if your child is ready for kindergarten, and how to best support your school-age child-whatever their age.

Girls, (and a few guys,) I am off to Vegas!! Wish me luck- I'd like to come home with some winnings this year!! I'm also hoping that the bowling gods are smiling on me, too.


meandmom said...

Hello Headless, I have been lurking around your blog and enjoying it immensely. I wanted to delurk in regards to a comment you made in this post.

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'm sure you were only suggesting that kids that aren't supported at home are also not supported at school. I do agree that with the level of academics now required of our kindegarteners it actually is beneficial for many kids to stay home until they are a full blown 5. I am sure that it has helped my daughter be as socially and academically successful as she has been the last 2 years of school. (She's just completing 1st grade)

I also realize that my first comments sounds like a bitter divorced lady who has to work. I'm not really like that. Most of the time. But I did think it pertinent to mark the difference between those that can't and those that don't.

Don't hate me. :)

Soliloquy said...

Have a blast in Vegas!!! We expect a full report upon your return.

Steph said...

I'm soooo excited for you to go to Vegas! What a blast, I'll pray for the money gods to bless you! :) You'll have to update us all!

I'll still be here when you get back!

Natalie said...

i was a kindergarten teacher in a small town with mostly lower class students. some of them were more than ready and some of them weren't. it might have had something to do with their home life, but honestly that didn't seem to make a difference. i just looked at it like i was the only one responsible for everything they learned that year. i didn't expect the parents to do anything so when some of them did i was thrilled. some worked. some didn't. some got their kids to school on time. some didn't. it was quite a learning experience for me. 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!