Missy will be five on August 2nd this year. One day past the cut off for Kindergarten in our state.
I was completely determined to hold her back until next year to start school. I have various and sundry reasons why I would hold her back. First and foremost, M Bug was right around five and half when he started Kindergarten and we thought the perfect age for it!
We followed a traditional path with him and he did a full year of half day pre-K through our local public school system (that we loved btw!) That was easy to do because we had a full time Nanny at the time who could take him to the class and we picked him up in the afternoon. He hated that he had to leave early as he wanted to stay and do what the rest of the class was doing. That part was hard on all of us. Of course up until then he had so much supplemental work from home that we did not feel so bad about doing half day. When we initially signed him up for Kindergarten we did half day too but quickly switched when we learned it was M Bug and one other child doing half days out of 80 kids in four Kindergarten classes that year. He was happy about doing full time and while I was initially nervous, he did amazingly well with it.
While M Bug was most definitely ready for Kindergarten academically speaking but we felt he struggled a bit with the social and emotional side of things. The hardest part was that parents have taken to holding their kids back until they are older than M Bug’s more traditional (mid) five year old age. M Bug was bored out of his skull in Kindergarten on top of that so it did not help. I observed children older than M Bug who did not know their colors or numbers and could not sit still through a simple story being read while he would be done with his work and staring at the wall in boredom. That is another story for another time.
My concern is that it is becoming the norm for kids to be older in Kindergarten. Word’s out that this is better though I believe this to be false because I know the kids in M Bug’s Star group and those kids are mostly the traditional aged children like M Bug was.
Missy is ready for school. She is super amazing at sitting and doing work. She wants to do the work. She knows well above the Kindergarten level of work. She wants to have friends and a teacher and a structure to her life. And most importantly she wants to go to school like M Bug. She is smart like M Bug was and I fear that if we hold her back till she is six (2014-2015) she will be in a worse place than M Bug was in that she will be bored out of her skull too.
I guess in terms of having her in K this year, she would be in school with M Bug while he still on the side of the building with the lower grades this year. If we wait another year, he will be in grade 4 and in a different part of the building all together. They could ride the bus together which would happen regardless of what grade M Bug’s in (well up till grade six anyway).
She will be one of the youngest kids in her grade forever. Ack personal issues with that. I am fearful about her being young and impressionable. The school is a-mazing. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about it but it is a Title I school. There is often an element to that which is not the best and some of the kids come from rough homes. It was hard with M Bug that first year for me to work through that. I research private school two different times during that year! I know that being in the class room often made a difference so we knew who was who and which kids to kind of talk M Bug into hanging out with and which kids might not be these best in the class to spend time with. I know that sounds shitty but it is true. I guess our experiences really fuel that – M Bug had some negative experiences his first year. There was a crumby boy (whose parents we know to be kind of in la-la land) who was shoving kids down, being a bully. We had to help M Bug learn how to stand up to him and band together with some other “better” kids to avoid that behavior.
I do not want to push her too much just because it would be nice to have both kids at one place. It would lower the cost of child care (before care for the kids is next to nothing compared to what we’ve paid over the years for various forms of child care) and we would just have to drop both kids off in one place and have them come home on the same bus which would eliminate a lot of rushing around in the afternoons.
I think one of my “fears” for lack of a better word is that we push her to do it even though she feels she wants this and it is a bad situation for her. My other huge fear is going to sound like I do not want to my baby to grow up. And I don’t and I do of course. But there is a loss of innocence once your child goes to (public) school. Up till K, we had some control over what M Bug saw, read, and did. Once kids are in school it changes profoundly. Of course both kids have always been in some form of day care but we got to choose who took care of them and what they experienced in those child care settings for the most part. So I am on the fence and my determination to hold her back has wavered in the face of lower childcare, her level of readiness, and having to only go to one place for drop off/pick up. Age be damned.
I suppose, we can always move her back to a pre-k class if K does not work out. AND at the end of the day, we still need to petition to get her into school. A school notorious for large Kindergarten classes and limited space. All this fretting may be for naught!