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OT: holding a kid back in Kindergarten


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I'm pretty bummed about something, so I thought I'd benefit from throwing it out there for your collective wisdom and advice.

 

I had a meeting at my son's school this morning. Nick is one of the younger kids in his class... most of the others have already turned six, while he won't be until the summer. Nick also did not have the experience of pre-school before Kindergarten, unlike most of the other kids.

 

Anyway, academically, he's been doing very well. He quickly caught up with the class in terms of his ability to recognize letters, write them, learn short words, do simple math and so on. No problems there.

 

However, his maturity level and attention span in the classroom setting is not good. While most of the other kids can focus for about a half hour, Nick is only good for about 5-10 minutes. So the school feels that retaining him in Kindergarten for another year would be in his best interest, and that throwing him into first grade now would be disasterous for him.

 

We've already had him get extra tutoring in a few areas where he was having trouble, and his teachers and tutors report an incredible improvement in those areas (speech syntax, fine motor skills and so on). But he still can be disruptive to the class by not paying attention or not working on the assignments at hand.

 

I think you can see my dilemma. On one hand, I trust the school and understand that if it's their professional opinion he be retained, it's much better to do it now than have it happen later. On the other hand, the idea of him knowing he's not moving ahead with his friends will be hard on him.

 

The school says he'd have a different teacher, and that the lesson format is going to change radically next year, so it wouldn't feel like he's doing the same work over again. Another option would be to send him to a different local school next year, then bring him back for first grade. I prefer keeping him in the same school, but am not sure how that will affect him socially.

 

Anyway, sorry for the novel-length post. If anyone has any direct experience with this, I'd be happy to hear about it. Thanks.

 

- Jeff

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Tough call Jeff but probably better now than later. It will be an early lesson that things don't always go as planned or desired. I'm betting he will get over it in short order once he meets and starts interacting with kids on his own maturity level.

 

 

[edit]I'd much rather have my kid held back than pushed out the door to a level they are not equiped to handle. That is more disasterous to the kid than being held back. The one is only for a short time, being held back. The other is going to cause him to be struggling to catch up for years, maybe always.[/edit]

 

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"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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Man, that's a tough one. We had our daughter start a year later than she could have... she was right on the fence agewise. This has worked out really well for her.

 

However, holding a kid back... I don't know. Can you seek the advice of some of the teachers there. Ask them "off the record" and see what they say. I think that's what I'd do. Ask 3 or 4 different teachers there... and other schools for that matter.

 

I would be wary of trusting only the official administration's opinion. Sometimes their motivation isn't exactly pure. Their goals might be a little different than you and your son's.

 

Do you have any friends working in the the district you could ask?

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Originally posted by Mudcat:

Does your school offer a pre-first grade class as an option? We have this in our district and it is specifically for kids in your son's situation.

That would be ideal, yes. But no, my district doesn't have the resources for such a thing.

 

I think this would be a much easier call if he WASN'T doing well academically. But as we all know, there's more to elementary school than readin' and writin' and 'rythmatic. It's the basis of much of your later socialization skills.

 

I just want to do whatever the most long-term beneficial thing is for my boy. If that means holding him back, then let's do it now, rather than later.

 

Thanks for the advice.

 

- Jeff

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Originally posted by Lee Knight:

Can you seek the advice of some of the teachers there.

They have these things set up well. The people involved are a committee made up of the principal, his teacher (who is excellent, I need to state), and several district people who specifically deal with these types of issues.

 

Do you have any friends working in the the district you could ask?
Yes, I'm doing research and getting second, third, fourth opinions and more. We need to make the final decision around the beginning of June.

 

Thanks for the input.

 

- Jeff

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I was a kid much like Nick- Birthday is in Aug, so i'm right on that age cusp. I was essentially a year younger than everyone else in school.

 

I had attention and maturity issues (some say i still do ;) )- not academic issues, just attention and maturity. The school kept waffling on whether i should be held back a grade, or moved up an extra grade.

 

In the end, i went through the normal process- K,1,2,3,4,5,6 etc.

 

I can't honestly say how much of a difference that made, or would have made either way. (fwiw i also moved around some, and changed lots of schools anyways).

 

I guess what i'm trying to say is that it's hard to tell if any situation is any better than the other unless you try it, (and that means that you'll never know what the other one would have done) :(

 

Wish i were more helpful.., but good luck with whatever you do. I'm confident in you Jeff, that no matter what you choose you've probably got what it takes to make the best out of it for the lil guy, and that's what really matters ;)

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Jeff, I have a 4 year old and will face the same thing in a year. The following is simply my personal opinion and nothing more.

 

 

I have to side with the child on this one. He will learn better and adjust better socially if he is in the same group as his developmental level as opposed to his chronological age.

 

That said, I take the opposite stand when the discussion is about smarter kids being advanced to higher grades (more than 1) because they don't develop socially the same as they do mentally and shouldn't be put in a situation where they are considered a freak because of their age.

 

I have a cousin who is 10 years younger than me who was held back in kindergarden for the same reasons you're describing, and he graduated with an engineering degree and has his own architectual firm designing office buildings.

 

-my $0.02

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Jeff,

I'll write more later.....

 

 

I teach in an elementary school. If he is to be held back, NOW would be the time to do it. He will gain more maturity and avoid the problems that go along with being the very youngest in a class in the coming years.

 

I need to get back to my class now...I will pontificate more later. Feel free to private message me if you'd like. I will be back on late tonight.

 

David

David

Gig Rig:Depends on the day :thu:

 

 

 

 

 

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Jeff,

 

I went throught this twice; once for my daughter and one for my son. Both have their birthdays in the middle of August, so we had to decide to hold them back to be the older child in class or let them go with their friends.

 

We let my daughter go on-time, so she could be with her friends, rather than a year behind. We sat down and made a list of all the pros and cons. In the long run, it was a big mistake. Her maturity was always behind the grade. She was the youngest and smallest in her classes (althought she sure didn't grow much - her brother is five years younger and already much bigger than she is).

 

We kept our son back for one year, and are happy with the results. He is well adjusted, more mature than his classmates, so he tends to be the leader. He is an athlete, so he is one of the bigger players on the field, and again, tends to be a leader. Of course, he isn't happy about it, because all his friends that are his age are one grade ahead of him.

 

So between the two, keeping back was the better way to go. By the way, after kindergarten we decided we wanted our daughter to stay back one year, but the school district wouldn't let us.

There are two theories about arguing with a woman. Neither one works.
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I think it probably is better to hold back now. God forbid he needs to be held back in grade 3 or 4, when he will have deeper attachment to schoolyard friends. It will be a smaller upset now, and probably entirely forgotten by the time he is a teenager.

 

Most schools around here have moved the cutoff date to Sept. 1 birthdays. If you are not the right age in September, you wait til next year.

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Also, my birthday is the middle of August. My parents didn't hold be back (I was still seventeen when I graduated high school). It didn't affect me in any way; it worked OK for me. But I was raised in a much different environment than my children.
There are two theories about arguing with a woman. Neither one works.
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Jeff,

 

I agree to a certain extent that the idea of not moving ahead with the rest of the students might cause a bit of turmoil in your son. If he is academically mature enough to meet the district requirements, then holding him back for behavior might cause him to recess in his will to productively strive to reach higher academic goals. He would be penalized NOT for failing to meet his required assignment goals, but rather, for being a kid.

 

I don't have a lot of time to devote to this right now, but I've been around and around with the public education system with my son. If your son is capable of the grade level with his mentality; perhaps his inattention is stemmed from boredom. When I insisted that the State evaluate my sons academic ability, while posing the question of whether or not he might qualify as being "gifted" or an "exceptional child", the Principal took on the attitude that his teaching staff were thoroughly trained professionals capable of determining whether or not a child has special abilities. After struggling with his grades, while getting assignments in Math counted as wrong because he wasn't showing his work.... although he was providing CORRECT answers, I told the Principal that he had no right to deny me a State Evaluation of my sons abilities.

 

When the testing was conducted and the results delivered; my son tested in the 98 percentile range and was performing Math at the level of 11th grade, while only being in 6th grade. The following year my son qualified for SAGE; the Students in Academically Gifted Education. There is probably a thread on the initial turmoils that I went through with the schools over the whole ordeal. After having proved the Principal wrong by showing him that his teachers had been neglecting to recognize a child of superior intelligence, while treating him as a student that was unmotivated; the Principal had my son placed in the Special Education room for the remainder of his 6th grade year..... the class where other students refer to kids as "RETARDS"

 

The whole ordeal was rather ugly and humiliating to my son, but it panned out in the end when the following year he was a part of the SUPER SMART kids class.

 

Do a search on the Internet for the keywords, "gifted children", "exceptional child", and likewise. Read up on some of the behavior patterns listed, and see if any of them describe your son's restless patterns. As the counselor from the Board of Education stated after evaluating my son, "There are so many of these gifted children that slip through the cracks and get pawned off as being the trouble maker, lazy, or being profiled as a child having an Attention Deficit Disorder; while in reality, they are just BORED because they are far above the level at which they are being taught."

 

You can request that the state conduct an evaluation of your sons' aptitude.

 

Another option to keep from holding him back might be a suggestion of him attending Summer School to help develop his behavior patterns.

 

Good Luck...

You can take the man away from his music, but you can't take the music out of the man.

 

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I went through this shit when I was four. I was traumatized by a phsychotic harridan masquerading as a teacher and my parents simply refused to allow to be in her class. Changing schools was not an option so I ended up being shifted upwards to a class where I ended up being the youngest, smallest etc. Academically I could hack it, but the whole maturity/self image/peer relationship issue has coloured my life to this very day. God help the bitch if I ever get my hands on her......

 

P.S. I'm married to a teechur now. She sez hold the kid back if the school says so - it'll be better in the long run.

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Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful replies.

 

I'm actually grateful that my son's public school is devoting as much care and attention to my kid as an individual. I really believe that they have his best interest at heart.

 

This would be a much easier decision if his academics were not up to par... but they are. It's purely a matter of his ability to sit there and deal with the classroom setting. If he's having trouble maintaining attention for the half-day, loose atmosphere of the Kindergarten class, it's gong to be exponentially worse in the all-day, stay-in-your-seat setting of first grade.

 

His mom just said something to me which is probably the most important thing to keep in mind: his going to first grade is what WE want, of course. But perhaps we need to put our own desires as parents aside, if it means doing what's best for him.

 

It's a tough call. Thanks again for your thoughts. Keep 'em coming.

 

- Jeff

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I think the answer is crystal clear-- every response in here, including an objective teacher, has been the same-- it's without doubt in the best interest of your son to have him retake the grade in a different setting as has been recommended.

 

Look at it as though the first go-round was his equivalent to pre-school, and the reticence will fall away-- it's in his best interest, and will set him right for the remainder of his scholastic career.

 

What negative is there, really?

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

--Aristotle

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Jeff,

 

Here's a good article about the behavior patterns of "gifted children". There are many articles on the web that state that exceptional children are often mis-diagnosed as having ADHD.

 

Supporting the Needs of Gifted Children

 

Here's a small excerpt from the article

Many gifted and talented children (and adults) are being mis-diagnosed by psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, and other health care professionals. The most common mis-diagnoses are: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (OD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Mood Disorders such as Cyclothymic Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Depression, and Bi-Polar Disorder. These common mis-diagnoses stem from an ignorance among professionals about specific social and emotional characteristics of gifted children which are then mistakenly assumed by these professionals to be signs of pathology.

You can take the man away from his music, but you can't take the music out of the man.

 

Books by Craig Anderton through Amazon

 

Sweetwater: Bruce Swedien\'s "Make Mine Music"

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I know there's a certain amount of wanting your young guy to be in the same class as his buddies, but, in the long run, it's really about his education and what is best for him in the long run.

 

Meantime, I would also take him to some child specialists and see if there might be an underlying problem, something like dyslexia or attention-deficit syndrome, for instance. It's common, and far more understood these days than it was years ago.

 

Good luck, and keep us posted!!! :D

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Jeff, I've been through this dilemma with both my kids ( one born August one October). In my daughters case the situation was compounded by the impacts of a tramatic head injury she incurred in Jr High.

 

Without turning this post into an epic novel I'd sum up the cumulative wisdom I've gained through all this as follows:

If there is any uncertainty at all about what to do... hold him back now!!!

 

The downside risk of doing this is really not significant at all. In the grand scheme of things graduating HS one year later has no meaning whatsoever. Your son will be cycling through diffferent groups of friends in elementary school no matter what you do.

 

On the other hand, the potential negative impacts of pushing to hard can be devastating and may have long term impact.

 

With the benefit of hindsight this is a very easy call for me to make.

 

Good luck.

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My two-late-cents:

 

My son Max is now 13. His birthday is November 29, and the cutoff date is December 1. He was reading at 2 1/2, and tested just as highly at everything. As a young pre-K student, we had the school district test him for K readiness, and they said that he was the most-ready kid they had ever tested.

 

So there he is, a few weeks into K, and the school wants to toss him back to pre-K - nearly a decade later he is just coming to grips with behavioral issues. Many of these issues seem to stem from his immaturity at the start of school (and many from going through his parents' divorce when he was six).

 

Mini-weasal will always be smart. An emotionally and physically ready kid will probably do better with those brains than an immature kid.

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I would NOT hold the kid back. There's nothing wrong with him; he's just not used to the class environment. He'll grow into it. In fact, he may actually be BRIGHTER than the other kids. Bright kids don't pay attention in class sometimes, because the class doesn't challenge them.

 

On the other hand, the STIGMA of being held back will CRUSH your son's confidence. That's the last thing that he needs. Continue to support him with tutoring and let him promote with his friends. Kindergarten is of no value academically; it's just a place for kids to get used to the idea of going to school. Any teacher who would suggest holding a kid back in kindergarten is in the wrong line of work.

 

DON'T DO IT!

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Originally posted by Gator Wing:

We kept our son back for one year, and are happy with the results. He is well adjusted, more mature than his classmates, so he tends to be the leader. He is an athlete, so he is one of the bigger players on the field, and again, tends to be a leader.

Same with us.

 

My son is also an August birthday. We had the option of putting him in Kindergarten at age 5, or keeping him in pre-k for another year and putting him in Kindergarten at 6. We were almost ready to pull the trigger at age 5 when a friend of mine said "Why are you in such a hurry for him to grow up?"

 

It totally changed my perspective. We waited until he was 6, and I'm really glad we did.

 

Like Gator Wing's son, my kid is bigger, stronger and smarter than most of the kids in his class. He also tends to be looked up to by most of his classmates, and is turning in to a very confident and secure child as a result of it.

 

dB

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Originally posted by Dan South:

I would NOT hold the kid back.

Just to let you know, Dan... this is the only year when it's our option. After first grade, the school/district can hold him back with or without our permission if he doesn't meet certain criteria in this regard.

 

In other words, even if we push him to go ahead now, he may be retained later, and as is clear to everyone, the later it happens, the worse it is.

 

Still, thanks for the alternate view. Also appreciated. We have not made up our minds in any direction yet, and I'm gathering lots of opinions from qualified sources as well as researching case histories. When we decide, right or wrong, it'll be an informed decision.

 

- Jeff

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Jeff,

 

Hold him back. He will never really notice the difference, but you will. I wish I had held my son back. He is very bright (he's in the gifted program) but he was also very young. He made the cut off by 11 days. His ability has never bee an issue, but his maturity has. He's in 8th grade now. Although he can do the work, there has always been a little more demanded from him than he can sit through comfortably. And make no mistake about it, school is tougher now than it was when we were kids. 2- 3 hours of homework is normal, even for grade-schoolers. It really sucks to be a kid...

 

If I had the chance to do it over again, I would give Josh another year to catch up in maturity. I have a younger daughter, so It wouldn't have made any difference to our family so far as kids moving out of the house. This is not about pride, so don't consider this an insult to you, or to your son's intellect. See it for what it is; a gift.

 

Been there,

 

Steve

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Wow, I was 4 years old when I began Kindergarten; my birthday falls in mid-November and the cut off date was December 1st. I never struggled with any issues, personality or otherwise, in school and graduated in the top of my class.

 

However, my sister was marginal in her academics in her 4th grade year and my parents decided to have her held back. My parents recognize how far advanced the three younger children were than what my sister was in showing academic progress; the schools had been advancing my sister without challenge. When my parents had my sister held back, she went into complete rebellion and struggled the rest of the way through her education. She took summer school during her junior year to help make up credits for the year, and then cut her senior year short to come back and graduate at the end.

 

Caused her a lot of emotional struggles with self esteem, confidence, and her will to strive to achieve. While she is 49 years old this year, she has never gained her independence and relies on others for her support. Note: She has an accomplished BA Degree in Graphic Arts. She has not motivation or ambition in life and often reflects back to the time where her parents "stunted her growth"

 

I guess holding back works in positive ways for some; but every person is different and some have long term effects as a result of decisions made during their youth.

You can take the man away from his music, but you can't take the music out of the man.

 

Books by Craig Anderton through Amazon

 

Sweetwater: Bruce Swedien\'s "Make Mine Music"

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I'd keep on keeping on, digging. I was also three months still 17 while in college. I can't even imagine what it would have done to me to be held back early on but it might have been bad. And I have a wall full of stuff to attest to how I did in school in every arena. I only screwed up my life recently. ;)

 

Hell, we didn't have pre-school, we didn't even have kindergarten.

 

The kids I know who were held back, I don't know a single one who went on to excel. I'm not saying some don't, I'm just saying I don't know any. It's a bit of a stigma. If it can be prevented, I'd prevent it.

 

Very tough call but an important one. You can only solve it by doing what you are doing. Talking to many people.

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Hey Jeff,

I think you should use your best judgement. Everyone is right, holding him back will not be the end of the world and as a current high school student I have noticed that a lot of times the older kids in a grade are more "popular" and take more leading initiatives. Holding him back later would be worse. In the same breath I would add that I am among the youngest in my grade (October) and have never noticed detrimental effects. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think I'm doin' okay with myself. So basically I'm saying whatever you do, by itself it can't hurt the kid. I doubt holding him back now would bother him, but I would talk to him about it. I'm sure he would catch up quickly if he wasn't held back though. Humans are amazing creatures.

I also think the effect of attention defecit, etc. are often overdone. It has become the excuse of my generation. I have no doubt that some people have more trouble paying attention than others, but that can be improved, and I'm not sure drugs are the solution. Anyways, I'm getting carried away. Basically I'm saying that it really has to do with the kid, and since you know him better than all of us, you're best qualified to make that call :)

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Originally posted by Extreme Mixing:

And make no mistake about it, school is tougher now than it was when we were kids.

I was shocked to find out at the beginning of this year that my Kindergartener would have homework 4 nights a week.

 

I don't know that I understand or agree with this policy, which is thrust on the parents as "a desire to be competitive with other countries". When do these kids have a chance to be kids?

 

Ah well, that's a side rant and a separate topic entirely.

 

- Jeff

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