Early Childhood Education/Should I have my child repeat K because of shyness??
My daughter will be turning 6 on 9/12, so she basically misses the cutoff in the public schools to go into 1st grade by 11 days! However, last school year, she was at a private school that did not have the age requirement and so I made the choice of letting her start K before turning 5. I figured I would play it by ear and worst case scenario if she didn't master the curriculum, she would be going into K again when she transfered to the public school. So now however, I have a very tough decision to make because the school is giving me the option of placing her in K or 1st. Overall, she did extremely well in K and graduated with principal's honor roll! She was just recently evaluated at the incoming public school and she came out at a mid 1st grade reading level. She can also add and subtract, tell time, count coins, etc. I do feel that she had a very good, but rigorous K curriculum at the private school. So I know for a fact that at the very least she has mastered the K curriculum, if not surpassed it. After evaluating her, the school themselves are actually suggesting she go to 1st grade, including the reading specialist, principal and K and 1st grade teachers I spoke to. But my issue is not if she's ready academically, but more socially because of the age factor. She is very shy and takes time to warm up to both adults and kids. I have seen drastic improvement in her shyness this school year. However, just to give you an example of her shyness, it took her about 3 months at the beginning of school to initiate interactions with her peers and to speak to her teacher. However, I would not consider her by any means immature. She actually is a very responsible little girl, mature and just LOVES to learn new things and soaks everything up! That is why I am scared that she will not be challenged enough in K again and basically waste a year! I know regardless she will still grow academically in K, it's not she is going to regress or anything! but it is possible she may not make as much growth, as if she was being exposed to 1st grade curriculum. My school does not have a K gifted placement (unfortunately), this only starts in 1st grade. Which would be a good option for her the following year if she did K again! What do I do? She will always be the youngest going into 1st! And I can't help but wonder if this will affect her THAT MUCH for the rest of her educational career? That it's actually worth having her do another year of K!! I only want to do what's best for my daughter.
A great question and an even great dilemma.
I taught kindergarten in Pa and in NJ. This issue came up with boys every year, but only once with girls!
It is called redshirting, taken from the world of sports. There are times when extending the kindergarten year for an additional year is quite appropriate and helpful. You just want to be clear that your reasons are sound and that they benefit your daughter.
A sign for me from your note is the response of the school. It appears that they have been quite thorough in looking at your situation and that numerous school staff members were involved--i.e. the reading specialist, principal and K and 1st grade teachers that you spoke to. They sound very caring and professions and you did not mention any concerns raised by them.
I have never met your child, but from her success in Kindergarten, it sounds like all want her in 1st grade. I know parents who have opted for extending kindergarten because they, like you, were concerned about their child being on the younger side. That is an issue but I am not so sure in this case if that should be the deciding factor.
I think that you have to ask yourself if you trust the school's decision. How are they to you? Are they respectful and do they listen and understand your concerns? If you feel comfortable with them...if you believe they have your child's best interest in mind, then contact them again for additional conversation.
In addition, did anyone ever ask your child she feels about this? Are her friends going to first grade? Has she expressed any thoughts, feeling either way? Is she excited about being a first grader? How is she processing all of this? No doubt she hears things.
It is a big decision. Keep in mind what they say. Make a list with their words and yours. You have the final decision and you want to feel comfortable. You are the parent and no one knows your child more than you do. You are also your child's primary teacher!
But it seems your in a great system with, again, some very caring people. It's early. Keep talking. Your answer will come.
In the meantime, relax and have a fun summer with your child. Let me know what you decide!