Posts Tagged ‘kindergarten’

Maybe your child is not as mature as you think she should be.  Maybe you think he’s little for his age, and could use another year of pre-school under his belt before starting in the big leagues.  Maybe you’re a sports-minded family, and you want to give your mini linebacker the best odds at athletic success.

Experts say, however, delaying kindergarten is not the right answer.  In fact, you just might be doing your little pumpkin a disservice.  The New York Times recently published an article highlighting  a study which tells us, in a nutshell, the best academic tool we can give our children is school itself.


According to this article, for students young for their year in kindergarten, greater strides were made during the school year in reading and math than in children who were older.  The article discusses how children grow when they are pushed:

“In this respect, children benefit from being close to the limits of their ability”.

Just let that sentence sink in for a second.  Give it a second read.  Absorb it.

What this tells us, is that it is good to push our kids, within limits. If a child is faced with a task that is challenging, but not out of reach, it encourages them to try harder. To want to be better.  On either side of this fine line, however, children (and teachers) face the consequences of boredom or frustration.

I’ve learned this first-hand, with my son, who happens to be in kindergarten (not early, not late, right on schedule).  He does not know all of his letters yet, although he’s getting there.  He is far from reading, however.  So, I have started working with him each day.  We don’t do a lot, anywhere from 5-20 minutes when there is some quiet time just for the two of us.  And, based on this new ritual, I have learned three things about him:

  1. When pushed just a little out of his comfort zone, with support, he flourishes. “No, no, Mommy, don’t tell me the answer, let me tell you the letters!”.
  2. When pushed a lot, he shuts down.  No wonder he literally looked the other way when I was trying to teach him sight words when reading a bedtime story!  It was like asking him to do calculus before he could multiply.
  3. When he’s presented with a task that he has complete mastery of, at first it’s a confidence booster, but that quickly wanes.  What is left is boredom (“Ok, ok, Mommy, I know those letters, but what is that one, again?”) and potential disruptive behavior.
Of course, there is no right or wrong answer that fits everyone.  We must make our own decisions, based on what is best for our child.  And, no one knows your child better than you.  This is also about more than just reading, math, and kindergarten.  It is a life lesson, too.  After all, we not only want our kids to learn, we want to teach them to be lifelong learners.  We want them to have a thirst for knowledge.

We, as parents, are helping our children learn how to learn.  What a gift.  I promise, I’ll try not to screw it up.

So, what did you do, or will you do about kindergarten?


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