hi there. it's me. talking about first world problems. actually, just talking about one particular first world problem that really annoys me. but, one that we have to deal with nonetheless. blech.
around these parts, if you have a boy who was born after june 30th or so, it is almost assumed that you hold him back and "redshirt" him during what would be his true kindergarten year. the actual cut-off for enrolling your child in school is september 30, but most parents have reservations about sending their young, newly-turned or almost 5 year-old boy to kindergarten.
it's not a phenomenon that is unique to our area. in fact, 60 minutes did a very interesting piece on this issue 2 months ago and i thought they did a pretty good job of representing both sides.
as a kindergarten teacher myself, i've always told parents that it is a decision that needs to be made on a case by case basis. that each child is unique with his own needs and own abilities that need to all be carefully considered before making a decision about whether to redshirt a potential kindergartner. i've seen many children on both sides of the coin that either succeeded and did quite well in all aspects of their learning (including social/behavioral) despite being the youngest in the class, and those that could have really benefited from another year of preschool prior to entering kindergarten. and now that kindergarten has really evolved from the days of juice and cookies and naptime to children learning to be young readers, writers, and mathematicians, this decision seems especially weighty.
and the fact that this decision is one that affects us personally is really annoying! choi boy's birthday is at the beginning of september, meaning he would be 4 years-old for the first week or so of kindergarten if we were to send him to school "on time." and though it seems crazy that this is running through my mind now, when he is not yet even 3 years-old, i can't help it because it will affect how many years of preschool he has and when we send him, etc.
i've always been of the mindset to send a child to school on time unless there are some glaring issues that have to do with maturity and nothing else. in fact, my sister and i both have birthdays that were past our district's cut-off of october 31 and my mom pushed to have us tested and admitted to school because she knew we were ready (and she was *that* mom ;) ), and we both did fine in school and with our friends and actually enjoyed being among the youngest in our grades. the hubs was also on the younger end of his class and did fine as well. or so he tells me...;)
but, i'm not a big fan of retention once kids start school, so i'd rather hold cb back from the start than have him retained once he starts school (should he need it), so it's a big decision to make that could potentially affect the rest of his educational life. i know i sound totally melodramatic and that's why i hate thinking about it! and it really is such a privileged people problem. it costs a lot of money to keep a child home for an extra year, whether you end up paying for an extra year of childcare or preschool or a combination of both, so it's a decision that is not feasible for many.
here's the bottom line: if cb continues on the trajectory that he is on now, i feel that developmentally and academically, he will be ready for kindergarten when he is supposed to enter. we will have to watch his social development and make sure that around the time is slated to enter kindergarten, he can sit and participate in class and interact with his peers as an average pre-kindergartner should. and if he's not, we'll work on those skills and make a final decision the spring or summer before.
however, we are not ones to worry about the fact that choi boy will likely be the smallest in his class (um, we're pretty sure if he continues on the trajectory he's on, he'll always be short!); or that he'll be playing sports against kids that will probably be lots bigger than him (but that won't stop my tiny athlete! and please reference muggsy bogues!) or the fact that he'll be the last to get his driver's license; or that he'll be 17 when he starts college...for us it boils down solely to his readiness (academic and social) and maturity for kindergarten, not so much to giving him a leg up by having him be the oldest in his class were we to keep him back an extra year.
but, that's us. and i'm not sure there *is* a right or wrong answer.
what are your thoughts? especially fellow mommas and dads of summer birthday boys? i'd love to hear your take on this!
and you know what? regardless of how much i worry about this, i know that in the end, cb will be just fine with whatever we decide to do. (you know, in like 2 years or so!)
after all, he *is* part superhero.