It was last year I made the mistake of putting him in Kindergarten at the age of four. He knew his alphabet, but it was evident, upon starting school, he had no interest in printing or reading. As the year progressed, he knew only a handful of the hundred words necessary to move forward into grade one.
It was at home, I would work with him to improve his skills but he would get frustrated within seconds of attempting to print or read. As soon, as I saw his face turn red, I would brace for the water works. It with moments like these I realized I put him in school too early!
I knew he would need another year of kindergarten. We decided to hold him back for one more year to improve his printing, and reading. It was evident to us that he was not ready for grade one.
You would think other parents would have been more understanding and supportive. But in the real world this wasn’t necessarily the case. It was my conversation with Judy which made me realize not all people understand that children learn better at different level and stages.
“So is Alex already for grade one next year?”
“No, we are going to hold him back a year.”
“Oh! Well! Is he slow?”
I looked at her perplexed.
“He’s not slow, just young. He turned five in December.”
“Oh well! Did you practice with him? And do extra homework?”
“Yes, we spent some time on practicing his letters but he is five. He needs his playtime.”
“You know my Madison is doing great and she’s five.”
“Oh that’s wonderful she seems very keen.”
“She is! Did you ever think of putting him in Sylvan Learning?”
“He’s five and I believe at this age it is more important for him to explore outside and play.”
“”I suppose you are right. But I just don’t get why you would hold him back if he’s not slow?”
My face started to turn a little red; I took a deep breath, and looked to the sky for patience.
“He’s not slow, he’s five, and children learn better at different ages. I made the mistake and jumped the gun too soon. I think another year of kindergarten will be just fine for him.”
“But don’t you think he’ll be teased?”
“Teased in kindergarten, really?”
“You never know!”
“I guess! But I don’t think children are aware of that at that age. Besides, it’s better to hold him back, gain confidence, love school, as opposed to placing him in grade one with a more structured routine, have him hate it, and have to repeat. ”
“Oh well, I suppose if he’s slow then you do what you have too.”
At this point the sky was no longer extolling the virtue of patience upon me and I blurted, “For God sakes! He’s not slow, stop using that word!”
Judy then gave me a pissy look “Sorry.”
I took a deep breath, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to get upset. I didn’t realize it was such a sensitive topic for other parents. “
At this point, she looked a little dazed and confused about the whole conversation. I slowly began to back away and looked at my watch. Needless to say, I haven’t seen much of Judy since this conversation. But I would love to tell her this “Suck it!”
As the end of this school year slowly approaches, and with Alex’s second year of Kindergarten almost over I have seen a huge difference in my son, his confidence, and his thirst for learning. He can write, spell, and knows his one hundred words. He will be ready for grade one next year and I know I made the right decision for my little cowboy.
Darcie Cameron is a RYT 200 who believes Yoga is a gift that is accessible to everyone with proper modifications, a patient smile and just taking the time to breathe. One of the greatest presents you will ever unwrap is when you connect your mind, body and spirit in perfect sync with your own breath. Connect with Darcie on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/darciecameronlovesyoga