SourceSue Dinwiddie MA Human Development
Related ArticlesReadiness For Kindergarten
What Should Be Learned In Kindergarten?
ForumsRaising our Kids
Education and Kids
Is my child ready for kindergarten? What are the readiness factors for kindergarten? Should I send my child with a late summer or fall birthday to kindergarten, or should I wait another year? These are some of the questions puzzling parents as they look ahead to elementary school.
To answer these questions it is helpful to look at your child as well as the kindergarten your child will attend. Children who fit comfortably into their kindergarten have a rewarding and productive year, thus beginning their elementary school years with a positive attitude about academics.
California public kindergartens are mandated to be "Developmental Kindergartens." But what does "Developmental" mean? Programs which fit the curriculum and expectations to the developmental level of each child, rather than expecting the child to be ready for the demands of the curriculum are developmental. When the kindergarten is truly developmental, four-and-a-half-year old children as well as older five-year-old children will be met with the education stimulation appropriate to their learning needs and abilities. However, diminishing funds often lead to large class sizes and fewer support personnel for teachers, making it more and more of a challenge to realistically meet the needs of a broad range of children. Therefore, it is beneficial for parents to get some information about the kindergarten. Pertinent questions to ask include:
What procedures do you follow to make this a developmental kindergarten?
Ideally the kindergarten should be ready for the child rather than getting the child ready for the kindergarten. If your school is not strongly developmental in practice, you can see if your child fits the profile of children who have a successful experience in any kind of kindergarten by answering the following questions. Compare your home observations with those of your child's Nursery School Teacher. Sometimes children's behavior is different in a group than at home; kindergarten is a group experience.
Does my child....
If your child does not yet meet the above profile, give some thought to your options. If the program is truly developmental, your child will learn at his/her own pace and develop during the year. If you do not believe the program is developmental in practice (for example, there is a big emphasis on academic skills such as reading ), you may decide to give your child another year to develop. Think about how your child will spend this time. Some productive alternatives include: a stimulating and nurturing nursery school, a young five's program, or a junior kindergarten. Staying at home with no opportunities to develop independence and successful peer interactions will not be helpful, nor will a program which forces academics on the child who is not yet ready. Talk to this year's nursery school teacher and next year's kindergarten teacher and listen to their opinions.
Kindergarten is a significant step on the path of education. A little consideration and planning on your part can make this step a rewarding and successful time for your child.
copyright 1999 Sue DinwiddieBack to the Top