Thursday, May 1, 2008

Wasting Away in Preschool

I took the girls to their new preschool today for the entrance assessment test. They had nearly perfect scores. Even though we liked the school during our tour, and everyone we talk to likes the school, I have to admit I have a bad attitude about the whole thing.

The girls' birthday is just a few days after the school deadline. If they had been born a few days earlier, they would be going to kindergarten. People keep saying condescending things like, "They will be so far ahead of all the other kids by the time they get to kindergarten." Or my favorite, "It's good for twins to have an extra year in preschool." No matter how many times I hear these things, I still feel like the girls are being punished for an accident of birth.

They are completely ready for kindergarten -- and that's not my opinion. It's the opinion of their current preschool teacher. She said they were more ready than most of the children moving up to kindergarten. Great news! Except they get to waste away in preschool again. At their current pace, the girls will start kindergarten reading and doing basic addition/subtraction. Most kindergarten students don't read and do basic math! Will they learn new things next year? Yes, I'm sure they will. It's a good school, but it is still their third year in preschool.

The problem is few Illinois school districts test children with close birthdays any more. It was too difficult to establish a cut-off line. The private schools stick to the same birthday deadline as the public schools because parents used to put their kids in private kindergarten and transfer them to the public schools for first grade.

So, I feel like the girls are going to spend a year waiting for the other children to catch up to them (aka wasting another year in preschool). It's a feeling I cannot shake, no matter how many people tell me I'm wrong.


Mary said...

I have a 4 year old son that is suppose to go into preschool but we have the same problem, he is already past the preschool stage, he knows about 99% of all the stuff on the list of skills for preschool. We have decided to homeschool because of this, we couldn't just let him waste away in school doing nothing, we want him to excel. This is our personal choice and of course we could do stuff at home if he were in preschool, but I like having the choices to let him learn as he is ready. Congrats on your little ones getting big enough for school, they grow so fast...

tashabud said...

Can't they go to an accelerated public school?

We have them here in Wyoming. I don't know if it's the same in your state or other states.

Michelle Hix said...

I think down the road when they are older you might be glad that they had "one more year" to be little girls...once they hit first grade, there is so much homework. I would suggest, if you don't mind my suggestion, is that you supplement at home (which I'm sure you already do) and let them enjoy another year, possibly their last, ha ha, of freedom and fun! Is your kindergarten split into classrooms of needs based groups so your girls can be in a higher class?

Julie K said...

It seems to be easier to jump ahead a grade (or hold back) kids in early elementary school. If they are not being challenged, maybe the school can test the girls mid-year or at the end of next year and move them up. At least it would be an evaluation by the teachers within the same school. If mid-year doesn't make sense, leaping over kindergarten or first grade should be easier than leaping over 2nd or 3rd grade (though that's possible too). I would think the key will be how the girls react. How are they behaving and what is their attitude toward school. If they are bored, what will the school do to keep them engaged? If the girls are fine with the situation, then don't sweat it.