Monday, August 22, 2011

My Kindergartener is 6

In a little over a week my 6 year old will be heading off to Kindergarten. He is excited, anxious, curious and elated to be finally heading off to school. Last Spring ('10) I was confronted with the decision to either register him for Kindergarten or postpone and let him attend preschool for one more year.

The decision weighed heavily on my mind.

Since my little kindergartner has a summer birthday I thought it was in his best interest to wait a year and let him develop more of his fundamentals and then begin Kindergarten as one of the oldest kids in his class. (My two other sons have late birthdays; both were born after the September 1st deadline.) I thought; why let my little summer birthday boy be the youngest in his class?

His preschool teacher made it very clear to me that my son meet the state guidelines {and under those guidelines} he was technically "ready" to attend kindergarten. Lots of Moms reminded me "Oh, he'll be fine...he's very smart".  It wasn't about "smarts" I knew my little guy had the basics down and socially he was  happy and friendly.

It was a Mom's gut instinct, he wasn't ready for the day-to-day. The getting up, finding his shoes and backpack, take home reading... he needed another year to just be HIM. I also worried about the years to come: Kindergarten is easy, so is First Grade. I worried more about the upper grades and the challenges and expectations his teachers will have for him.

My husband questioned my decision. "Are you sure?" "He'll be home with you every day, don't you need the break?" I have to admit, once Christmas rolled around it was hard. He was ready to start kindergarten. If school started in January instead of August I would have sent him. He was bored when he wasn't at preschool. So... I had to step it up as his Mom, we did special activities together, scheduled more play dates and had  Mom and him time. I had to get creative and fill in the gaps because he wasn't attending kindergarten.

"When did I know I had made the right decision?" When preschool began last August he was happy to be attending one more year of preschool. But when Christmas rolled around and we were on break, my little guy one day said: "Mom, next year I don't want to go to preschool, I want to go to Kindergarten". Thats when I knew he was ready. In his mind, he had made that leap. Not only did I know he was ready, but he knew it too.

Now, I couldn't be more happy to be sending my little man off to Kindergarten. He is ready. Really ready! And so is Mom.

What experiences have you had with your Kindergartner? Send 'em? Hold 'em back? I would love to know your thoughts.

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Kristin said...

At our house we don't call it holding him back, it's waiting. Rory waited and I'm so glad. He was "ready", but I heard from so many seasoned moms and former teachers that junior high it catches up to them. In my opinion, way to make the tough decision!

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