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OT: holding a kid back in Kindergarten


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At least you have the advantage of a Summer birthday - so age-wise, your son's pretty much on the fence and will either be a little younger or a little older than most kids in his class. Tough decision, but I bet he could roll with it either way.

 

Also, ADD can be a very real thing and may be something that you want to rule out as a factor.

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That's a tough call, obviously. It's a case-by-case basis, obviously, since this is not a one-size-fits-all decision.

 

As a teacher, I would recommend that you do what you are already doing - get a lot of different opinions, and really think about everything thoroughly before making a decision.]

 

From what you describe, Nick could legitimately benefit from being held back for a year. It would be far less stigmatizing at that age, and he'd be with his own age group, also a benefit. But the other side of it is that you said that he is doing really well academically, so the bulk of the problem appears to be behavioral (not paying attention, and so forth).

 

So I think the answer seems to boil down to: is he going to be able to improve behaviorally by holding him back (or can he improve behaviorally by addressing that issue while he presses forward and goes to first grade)? Now, you would know that far better than any of us here would.

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Jeff, I barely skimmed the other responses.. but take it from me.. and Dan South. Do NOT hold back your kid based on this flimsy of evidence from the school.

 

They say it ain't the same as the year before... consider that for a minute.... of course it is.. hell a lot of first grade is a repeat of kindergarten. While you may beleive they have your kid's best interests at heart- how do you really know that? Because they seem pleasant, loving, caring? Beleive me, they are not losing sleep at night worrying about your kid. You be his advocate. If it's a "short attention span in comparison to children a few months older" then would'nt it make sense that his attention span will lengthen in a few months too? Dude, schools get more money for holding kids back.

 

 

Don't automatically trust what these teachers say about your kid. It doesn't matter if they are nice people. They have biasis and agendas like everyone else.

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Originally posted by Ken/Eleven Shadows:

So I think the answer seems to boil down to: is he going to be able to improve behaviorally by holding him back (or can he improve behaviorally by addressing that issue while he presses forward and goes to first grade)?

Yes, that's exactly the issue. And the school specifically feels that pushing into first grade next year will not allow him to mature sufficiently while he's also trying to move ahead even faster on the academics and so on.

 

One possibility that I haven't discussed with the school yet is whether he can be in a Kindergarten class again next year, but also move ahead scholastically if he shows the aptitude to do so (i.e., do some first grade level work in math or whatever). I'm hoping that by challenging him a little, he can buckle down and focus with the added maturity of being another year older.

 

Thanks Ken.

 

- Jeff

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That's tough, Jeff.

 

I was all set to agree with Ani's first paragraph.. send him through. I mean, if he can't sit still long enough this year, what's the chance he'll change that much in another year of the same thing? Lilly's finishing her kindergarten year and I can't imagine holding her back with such high academics.

 

But there's a difference. You mentioned Weasel Jr. is in school only a half day. Sometimes I forget that's the norm in kindergarten. Lilly's school day is the same as the 1st - 6th graders. They begin at 8am and end at 3:30pm.

 

Knowing he has difficulty focusing in a short day seems to say he needs behavioral assistance before he begins a full day of school.

 

That said, I still wonder how sitting in a similar environment next year is supposed to deal with an issue the school hasn't addressed this past year. Why did they come to you now rather than, say, at winter break. Had they approached you then, you could have had a behavioral specialist work with him before the end of the school year. Had he made progress, the decision to put him in 1st grade, IMO, would have been much clearer.

 

Will the school let you work with someone for the next month or month and a half to see if he can progress enough to have a better idea what he's currently capable of before you make a decision that can stigmatize him his entire school years?

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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How much time do you have to make a decision?

 

Do you feel that the behavioral issues are a maturity issue? If so, it's quite possible that he can grow out of them. If they're very severe, then that may be another story and may need additional addressing.

 

Also - when & where do the behaviors occur? Do they only occur at school? At home? At specific times at school? All the time? Certain times of the day?

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Ooooops, posted it before I intended it to...

 

Behaviors...do they seem like they come out of boredom or lack of challenge? Or because he is being challenged? Or because of some medical reason?

 

There's really a lot to consider here insofar as behaviors are concerned...you want to be able to determine what the reason is so that you can best address the issue.

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Originally posted by Jeff Da Weasel:

...

 

One possibility that I haven't discussed with the school yet is whether he can be in a Kindergarten class again next year, but also move ahead scholastically if he shows the aptitude to do so (i.e., do some first grade level work in math or whatever). ...

The public school will give lip-service to the idea of giving him advanced work, but they are set up to turn out cookie-cutter bell-curve kids. I wouldn't expect special treatment in a CA public school.
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Out of 1000+ kids I went through public school with, only 2 were held back and repeated the 2nd grade. This was due to their poor upbringing and they were punks. I'm not even convinced the action taken was necessary. They never amounted to much at all and remained punks. I doubt your kid is one of these. Everyone else seemed to do fine.

 

Prior to this Ridulin age of schooling, I doubt you would have even known ther was a "problem". If it's just restlessness of a 5 and 1/2 year old, what's the problem? He's 5 and 1/2. Duh! 6 is hardly an age of enlightenment.

 

My birthday was at the very end of the school year in May. Many others were, too. There wasn't a problem.

 

You're the dad. Go with your gut.

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Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Knowing he has difficulty focusing in a short day seems to say he needs behavioral assistance before he begins a full day of school.

Yes, that's part of the rationale.

 

Why did they come to you now rather than, say, at winter break.
I'm sorry to have not been clear on this part. The school did indeed start talking to us about this in January, which is when they set him up with extra help in speech and so on. However, we all agreed that no long-term decision would be discussed until later in the year, when he'd had more of an opportunity to mature in age and take advantage of the extra training.

 

Well, here we are later in the year, and while I'd hoped that he would have progressed further in the area of maturity and class socialization, the school feels that he hasn't gone far enough for them not to recommend retention.

 

Will the school let you work with someone for the next month or month and a half to see if he can progress enough to have a better idea what he's currently capable of before you make a decision that can stigmatize him his entire school years?
The school will let us do whatever we think will be helpful to Nick. They offer no program in this regard in a summer school format, and he's already seing a special in-class instructor in this regard. I can't fault the school for trying, because they are.

 

Again, I've made no decision as of yet... lots to think about, lots of implications, lots of factors to weigh in. But thanks for the thoughts, Neil.

 

- Jeff

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Originally posted by Ken/Eleven Shadows:

How much time do you have to make a decision?

Until near the end of the school year, roughly 5 weeks.

 

Do you feel that the behavioral issues are a maturity issue? If so, it's quite possible that he can grow out of them. If they're very severe, then that may be another story and may need additional addressing.
They're a combination of maturity and environmental issues, and neither are severe (as definied by both me and the school).

 

Also - when & where do the behaviors occur? Do they only occur at school? At home? At specific times at school? All the time? Certain times of the day?
Good questions, and I don't have answers, but that's part of what I'm looking at now.

 

- Jeff

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Originally posted by antimatter:

Jeff, any chance you can sit in on class? Like be the teacher's helper for an hour or two? Maybe you can get a first hand account of what's going on. Just a thought.

Yes, I'm welcome to do so. It's generally said that when the parents are there, the kids don't display their typical behaavior, and then go right back to the problem areas as soon as the parent is gone. But it might be worthwhile checking it out in person, yes.

 

- Jeff

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Originally posted by Prague:

Out of 1000+ kids I went through public school with, only 2 were held back and repeated the 2nd grade.

Out of 50 kids in the three Kindergarten classes at my kid's school, four kids (including mine) have been recommended for retention. That's nearly 10%.

 

Things are different today than they were 30 years ago.

 

- Jeff

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You know Jeff I can't speak for your situation but I wonder if the school systems puts too much pressure on kids at too early of an age. I know after talking to different parents that a lot of them do feel this way. I know the world has changed but kids are still kids.

 

Do we do the kid more harm by labeling them than trying to let things take there course? I don't have the answers but I would stay extremely vigilant on what's best for your son which I'm sure you will.

 

I know they're trying to do what's best for your son and they maybe right but I sometimes question the methods of the "modern academic system".

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Originally posted by Jeff Da Weasel:

...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...he still can be disruptive to the class by not paying attention or not working on the assignments at hand.

Hmm, sounds like a male human being of that age.

 

Originally posted by Prague:

Prior to this Ridulin age of schooling, I doubt you would have even known ther was a "problem". If it's just restlessness of a 5 and 1/2 year old, what's the problem? He's 5 and 1/2. Duh! 6 is hardly an age of enlightenment.

+1.

 

It amazes me how the normal behavior of a human child is labeled as pathological in modern times.

 

Originally posted by Jeff Da Weasel:

Out of 50 kids in the three Kindergarten classes at my kid's school, four kids (including mine) have been recommended for retention. That's nearly 10%.

I wonder Jeff...are the other 3 children boys as well?

 

I ask simply because of the fact that boys do not develop on the same timeframe as girls, and as it regards the ability to sit still, focus, and pay attention, it is most certainly the boys who are at a deficit in our species! ;)

 

 

cheers,

aeon

Go tell someone you love that you love them.
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Originally posted by Dan South:

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.

After a year Nick would be used to the environment were he mature enough.

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.

There's little or no doubt that Nick is at a very high intellectual level. MATURITY is the word.

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.

It's one hell of alot easier to repair any loss in confidence now, at an early age, than later on after going through the stigmas he'll encounter going through the same issues each year, being behind in the ability to maintain attention in a full days classroom schedule.

Kindergarten is of no value academically; it's just a place for kids to get used to the idea of going to school.

That's not correct either. Kids that do well in Kindergarten, not just academically but emotionally, do better throughout their school years, including college.

 

Any teacher who would suggest holding a kid back in kindergarten is in the wrong line of work.

No, they're doing their job.

 

DON'T DO IT!

 

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Originally posted by aeon:

I wonder Jeff...are the other 3 children boys as well?

I did not ask, and the school did not say... there are privacy issues, of course.

 

And yes... part of me says, "This is how a kid his age is supposed to behave." But in a school, especially a public school, they have their standards. Do I agree with cranking out cookie-cutter kids? Hell no. I'm enough of an example of how being an individual can make one a happy person, I think.

 

But at some point, people do need how to learn to function within a system, and make it work for them rather than fighting the parts that don't. And sometimes, that means putting up with temporary crap to achieve a longer-term goal.

 

Again, it's a really tough call. I'm glad I have so many people from whom I can draw direct experiences, opinions, and helpful info. :thu:

 

- Jeff

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Jeff,

 

Don't take it as a failure of you and his Mom. Holding a child back is not always a bad thing. Evaluate the situation. Is it him not being able to keep up, or is it a slower maturity?

 

Personally, I was held back a grade in Kindergarten and scored a 140 on my IQ test my first year of college. I'm not bragging (I'm not half as smart as my wife) but rather illustrating a point. It's not a dumb/smart issue, but a best fit issue. I was the oldest person in my grade throughout high school and was very popular when I could drive before everyone else, but the classes kept my interest and I related well to kids a little younger than me.

 

Again, don't take it as a personal failure (especially this young), as I think most people are inclined to, but an opportunity to fit your son in an environment in which he learns best.

 

And maybe someday he can be as arrogant a f**k as me. :)

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

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I'm 44, and I can't sit still when there isn't enough going on to keep my mind occupied. If my parents had held me back until I was "mature enough" to be a model student, I would be anticipating my 40th year of kindergarten this September.

 

The school system is designed to teach conformity. Someone with an active mind doesn't always fit in. Einstein was considered to be hopeless by his teachers.

 

If you hold your kid back, he'll know it, and the other kids will remind him of it over and over again. And he'll always have in the back of his mind the perception that he was inferior, that his peers moved up to first grade when he couldn't cut it.

 

Kindergarten is a mindnumbingly boring experience for a bright kid. How difficult is it going to be for him to have to go through that AGAIN? It's like attending a Yanni concert, and then when you get up to leave, your parents meet you at the door and tell you to go back in for the second set because they don't think that you appreciated Yanni enough the first time. IT'S NOT GOING TO HELP!

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Originally posted by Jeff Da Weasel:

Originally posted by antimatter:

Jeff, any chance you can sit in on class? Like be the teacher's helper for an hour or two? Maybe you can get a first hand account of what's going on. Just a thought.

Yes, I'm welcome to do so. It's generally said that when the parents are there, the kids don't display their typical behaavior, and then go right back to the problem areas as soon as the parent is gone. But it might be worthwhile checking it out in person, yes.

 

- Jeff

Okay, see, this is good to know. If your son has the ability to not display the behaviors mentioned, then there's a pretty good chance that we can rule out medical reasons, and that the behavior can be worked on and improved. This is part of the reason I was asking about when and where he exhibits his behavior.
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Originally posted by doug osborne:

The public school will give lip-service to the idea of giving him advanced work, but they are set up to turn out cookie-cutter bell-curve kids. I wouldn't expect special treatment in a CA public school.

I've worked in a lot of schools, and teachers and administrators are overloaded with stuff to do, overworked, etc. But if you take the time to continue inquiring and brush up on your parents' rights, you'll get the attention that your child deserves. Squeaky wheel, etc.
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I've worked in a lot of schools, and teachers and administrators are overloaded with stuff to do, overworked, etc. But if you take the time to continue inquiring and brush up on your parents' rights, you'll get the attention that your child deserves. Squeaky wheel, etc.

Being the squeaky wheel is especially necessary if you and your wife are not the PTA parlor crew that grooms the system. I doubt very seriously that you have the time to dedicate to all of the school functions in the type business you are in, and unless your wife is a stay-at-home-PTA-Mom that devotes a lot of time and effort to school functions; you're just another number with a kid who is easily distracted in class. I don't know HOW MANY times I've heard teachers suggest ADHD or ADD as the potential culprit for EVERYTHING. My son has never "acted out" in class and he has never bounced off of the walls, and yet I had him professionally evaluated to rule that factor out. One teacher always complained that he would just stare out the window, while refusing to pay attention. Yet when I questioned her as to whether or not she felt he understood the lesson that was being taught; she would get irritable and insist that my son was just TOO LAZY to turn in his assignments. When I would try to reason with her about whether he was "LOST" (as she put it) because of the possibility of missing important elements during the communication of what needed to be done; she would get upset and then tell me that he would excel during the tests given on the sugject. That's where I began questioning the school as to whether or not Stephen had gifted abilities; that was during his 5th grade year.

 

When Stephen was just a small child, he was connecting the RCA plugs from his Nintendo into the TV; he couldn't have been more than 4 the first time he hooked all the cables up after having observed me make the connections ONE TIME!!! He connected everything correctly too. When he was 10, I came in one day to see his Playstation in pieces and spread across my desk; I just about flipped when I saw it disassembled. Stephen told me not to get upset because he was FIXING IT.... I thought to myself :rolleyes: YEAH RIGHT, there's a quick $300.00 down the tubes. Ironically, my son put the Playstation back together within an hour or so and the unit was in perfect working order. Before, the disk had not been loading and I had told my son to wait until I could afford to take the unit in to the shop. Those are just two examples of signs of superior abilities that I recognized in my son; I was not about to accept a teacher failing my child because she claimed he was lazy.

 

I was a REAL SQUEAKY wheel for the duration of Stephen's 5th grade year, and half way through his 6th grade year before I finally got the school district to provide an evaluation. I was going up to the school almost every day that I had off to observe how Stephen related to other children during lunch hour; HE DIDN'T. Also, I would pass tidbits of information of other students bullying my son on to the school administrators willing to listen and investigate the situation.

 

It was really kind of awkward because Stephen began school when he had just turned 5; yet he was bigger than most of the 6 year old kids that he started with. With him being bigger than the rest of the kids, those older and more mature picked on Stephen because he was insecure. We moved to this district when he was in the 4th grade. The bullying followed him through to middle school, 6th grade, where I finally got in the faces of the faculty about launching an federal investigation into the matter. There were some students that were involved with football team that were walking by while discreetly ramming my son into lockers, and a lot of other things that were going on; other students intimidating my son. The Vice Principal at the time was also the football coach and turned the other cheek to the bullying that was going on in the halls between classes.

 

My son and a few others were targeted, while the bullies would pull together and deny any wrong doings. They would grab Stephen's pencil away from him in class and break it in half, then he would cry and the teachers would question me about his emotional stability. :mad: The teachers were not witnessing ANY of the garbage going on with the other kids and they were pinning EVERY thing on Stephen because of the COOL KIDS packing together and denying anything that Stephen would bring up as a reason for his sadness.

 

It took a LOT of effort, and a LOT of nerves to follow through with everything; but eventually Stephen grew more settled and High School has been an entirely different atmosphere where he has adapted quite well and gained popularity. When the school realized that I was not one to set back and allow my son to get caught up in the system and ran over by kids; they began tailoring his education to his special abilities.

 

As far as 4 pages of homework??? Consider yourself VERY LUCKY. My kids have came home from school with as many as 18 pages of assignments scheduled in ONE DAY!

 

Sorry for the length, and also going a bit off topic, but holding the kid back is not always the best thing to do. GETTING INVOLVED and digging down deep, for whatever reasons your son might find distractions, is the key factor here. Rentention is a rude awakening for a lot of parents, but it is also a clue to get proactive in your son's education; rather than reactive.

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Originally posted by Ken/Eleven Shadows:

Originally posted by doug osborne:

The public school will give lip-service to the idea of giving him advanced work, but they are set up to turn out cookie-cutter bell-curve kids. I wouldn't expect special treatment in a CA public school.

I've worked in a lot of schools, and teachers and administrators are overloaded with stuff to do, overworked, etc. But if you take the time to continue inquiring and brush up on your parents' rights, you'll get the attention that your child deserves. Squeaky wheel, etc.
(We're not hijacking Jeff's thread, are we?)

 

Squeakiest wheel here.

 

I have at least weekly contact with all teachers for two kids via email, up to daily (or hourly) if needed. I have had both kids declared emotionally disabled with an Independent Education Program - Jeff if your kid does show a medical reason for behavior, this is your ticket for support in the CA school system. Both of my kids are highly gifted (my 15 year old son just got a perfect score on the PSAT), which by my way of thinking is a disability on its own.

 

Teachers have generally been the good guys here, I agree (except for the two incompetent ones that we got fired :thu: ). They have too many kids, too little time, and too little money, to provide the test scores the administrators need to deliver to keep their jobs. The school system here is in trouble for economic, political, and social reasons, and I have never attributed this to the troops on the ground.

 

CA State Education Law dictates that each student be provided a free and appropriate education . That included all support including psychological, up to paying for an appropriate non-public school.

 

My younger son, the youngest in his class, is doing much better after years of struggling with his maturity/ability conflict, and we may never know if he would have been better served by holding him back.

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Originally posted by Ken/Eleven Shadows:

Originally posted by Jeff Da Weasel:

Originally posted by antimatter:

Jeff, any chance you can sit in on class? Like be the teacher's helper for an hour or two? Maybe you can get a first hand account of what's going on. Just a thought.

Yes, I'm welcome to do so. It's generally said that when the parents are there, the kids don't display their typical behaavior, and then go right back to the problem areas as soon as the parent is gone. But it might be worthwhile checking it out in person, yes.

 

- Jeff

Okay, see, this is good to know. If your son has the ability to not display the behaviors mentioned, then there's a pretty good chance that we can rule out medical reasons, and that the behavior can be worked on and improved. This is part of the reason I was asking about when and where he exhibits his behavior.
Good spot Ken. I think Jeff has a good handle on the idea that this is a maturity issue, and mini-weasel has to develop an ability see the forest for the trees. That can be done without becoming a "child-product" manufactured by the school system.

 

It seems to me that Dan S. and Ani are as quick to label a child "supra-genius, bored with the low level school" as others are to label a child "ADHD". I would label the child as "age 5", and seek to understand the individual balance of social and technical.

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Originally posted by Jeff Da Weasel:

...The school will let us do whatever we think will be helpful to Nick. They offer no program in this regard in a summer school format, and he's already seing a special in-class instructor in this regard. I can't fault the school for trying, because they are.

 

Again, I've made no decision as of yet... lots to think about, lots of implications, lots of factors to weigh in. But thanks for the thoughts, Neil.

 

- Jeff

I guess I should've known this didn't just bite you in the butt, out of the blue. :o

 

I think you're answering your own questions. You and the school have done due diligence in an attempt to correct the issues before the next school year. Ask some professionals, including but not limited to the in class assistance, if they think this is an issue that will change with another year of assistance or will this be an ongoing challenge to help him focus. The school seems to think it's the former. I'm not an early development expert but I'd wager this will be an ongoing situation, regardless of his age/grade relationship. Sounds like personality more than maturity. That doesn't make him a bad kid, but it does mean he'll need to be watched closely to ensure his success in school at any level. It kinda reminds me of the scene in the movie, Parenthood where Kevin Buckman's principal describes why they want Kevin to go to a special school for kids with behavioral issues.

 

Kevin's teacher has 38 students in her class and she spends... one third of her time dealing with Kevin.
Public schools are not well equipped, in most instances, to handle kids with special needs that aren't extreme.

 

I urge you to get a second and a third opinion from behavioral professionals before you decide.

 

Good luck.

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Here's my tuppence,

 

I skipped Kindergarten, and was put right into kindergarten because, (as they told my parents), I was smart enough. That hits the parents in their pride. The reality was that there were too many Kindergarten kids, and some room in a grade one class, and they just wanted to keep the class sizes to a more reasonable number. Instead of splitting the Kindergarten class in 2 and hiring a new teacher, they put six of us into grade one. All six of us were fine academically, but we all suffered socially. We just weren't mature enough to be in that older class.

 

My wife teaches a Junior Kindergarten / Senior Kindergarten blended class. This means that she will have kids that don't turn 4 until December 31, and kids that will turn 6 on January 01, in the same class. That's two years less a day difference in age. When you are 30 and 32, it's not a problem. At 4 and 6 it can be a disaster. In our School Board. Kindergarten isn't so much about learning academics as it is about learning to be in a learning environment. The reality is that JK and SK are optional. Kids don't have to start school until the year they turn 5, and they can start in Grade 1. Everything in Kindergarten is a bonus. Most parents around here treat it as daycare, and then are upset that their child doesn't get the same attention in a one teacher : 25 student class as they did in a 1:5 daycare.

 

If he is where he needs to be academically, perhaps you could find a way to get you child more socialized, and more used to being in a learing environment. That could be in Montessori Schools, some kind of summer day camp, anywhere where he is in a structured environment where he has to deal with a large goup of peers, and a smaller group of authority figures. Find a way to give him what he needs outside of school, so he is better equipped to function in school.

 

And remember the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.

 

Peace,

 

Paul

Peace,

 

Paul

 

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Originally posted by Billster:

It seems to me that Dan S. and Ani are as quick to label a child "supra-genius, bored with the low level school" as others are to label a child "ADHD". I would label the child as "age 5", and seek to understand the individual balance of social and technical.

I would label the child "age 5," also. I have no idea what the child's IQ is, but I know what the stigma of being held back can (potentially) do to his self-confidence. And I doubt that one year is going to transform a kid with a mind that wanders into a kid who hangs on his teacher's every word. Summing everything up, I don't think that the positive aspects of holding the kid back outweigh the negatives.

 

What's a "supra-genius?"

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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