Is He Ready For Kintergarten?

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Starting school at 4 years old can seem daunting for children and parents alike.  But the big question is, are they ready?William2 Color Watermarked

My little boy is very bright.  He knows all about the planets and the order they orbit the sun, he has a hard time accepting that Pluto is not a planet…I think he thinks Pluto feels left out.  He knows how to count 1,2,3,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 14, level1, level2, level3… and he has known the alphabet inside out and backwards.  He’s fabulous with phonics and can figure out what letters begin most words.  But I didn’t think he was ready for primary.

My reasoning was mostly behavioural.   He doesn’t listen to me…his mother.  The person who he’s spent almost every day of his life with…straight up defiant towards me.  All.  The.  Time.  Little did I realize, this is a choice he’s making.  Not some sort of development issue.

At the beginning of this past school year I enrolled him in pre-school.  In Nova Scotia, pre-school (or Pre-K) is not provided by the province, and if you want your children beginning school at three you pay for it out of pocket.  The school he attends is the same one his older brother went to, and I fully trust them with my boys.  They are fantastic.  We began at 2 half days a week, and after the Christmas holiday I upped it to 3 half days a week as he loves going to school (And I love the free time!).  A total of 12 hours a week he spends in school and he is truly thriving.

There have been some changes in him.

Not towards me.  His behaviour with me really hasn’t changed much.  But in other situations I’ve seen a huge change.  Like last week when we went to the dentist.  He lay there, didn’t move, and listened to the Dentist, did what he was instructed.  I was in absolute shock.  I’m surprised she didn’t hand me one of those fancy dentist bibs as I’m sure I must have been drooling from my jaw not being able to close.  His visit six months prior resulted in tears and me bear hugging him so he wouldn’t move.  Little signs that he is, in fact, growing up.

So yesterday, when I dropped him off at preschool, the director pulled me aside and said that his teacher fully believes that he is ready for school.  That he does what he is supposed to and listens and follows instruction.  See, they knew of my doubt.  I had already enrolled him for a second year of preschool next year because I had just decided he wasn’t ready.  But they think he’s ready.

I think what I am going to do is enroll him in ‘big school’ and do the days in early March with him.  I’ll talk to the school to find out exactly what he needs to work on, and hopefully (with every finger and toe crossed) come next year both of my children will be in school full days.

How did you  know if your child was ready for school?

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Comments

  1. I enrolled my oldest boy in school when he was four, and he is eight now and thriving academically and socially. I don’t regret my decision for a second.

    He is into sports, and I am happy that he is in the same grade as his teammates. It was something that I didn’t consider, but I think it has helped him become the confident little boy that he is. Good luck!

    • Thanks for commenting! My oldest boy could have started at four and I wouldn’t have questioned it a bit, he had to wait until he was almost 5.5 because he’s a spring baby. He’s thriving as well, though he complains he’s bored. I wish he could have started at 4. I’m hoping that my youngest will do well starting at 4 years old. But, if he doesn’t, I will pull him out. I am grateful that I have that option.

      • I totally agree. I had the same intention with my four year old. If he had struggled, I would have had no problem pulling him out. Hopefully he’ll get a fantastic teacher. It makes such a difference with little ones.

  2. I live in Ontario and my son is starting in sept…he will not be 4 til Dec. He is not nearly as advanced as your child and its a full day 9-330…I am seriously freaking out inside but if I hold him back he will be older than his peers the following year :/

  3. That is a question I asked myself with my first child and now again I question with my second..
    I didn’t put my first in kindergarten and she was fine going to school ,no problems at all.

  4. Long answer in hindsight now as a grandparent of someone just about to enter JK in Ontario, I don’t think we ever truly know what our child is ready for. I think our job as parents is to offer the experience and see how it goes. There are two things in our kid’s lives – the catastrophic and the everything else. The catastrophic, like a toddler walking out into traffic, is what parents have to be rigorous about avoiding, but the everything should not be of concern. Our kids also need failures, need delayed gratification and uncomfortable experiences when little so they can practice safely in our care. Parents, particularly, mummy will be there to comfort, distract and help get back on track. Short answer both my kids went to morning JK and while they were very different levels and temperaments and I had to ease them in differently, they both had positive experiences.

  5. My oldest started JK 1/2 days at 4 yrs old (we are in ontario) he had done nursery school for 18 months previous, and while he was very similar towards me as your describing, he was always shy and listened well for everyone else. My youngest is 4 in August, and will also start JK – however it is full days now. I question and second guess my decision every day – however I finally realized that it is “me” that is not ready for it…not him. I am sure he will do fine – and he is nowhere near your son in terms of knowledge

  6. Darlene Schuller says:

    You know, I don’t know what it is about school but they are totally different people when they are there. Miss K is DRAMA… yet when she’s in school. pff.. she’s the class cheerleader, encouraging, if she fails at something she doesn’t throw it or let out that gawd awful groan she does when she’s mad… she takes a step back then tries again.

    I wish her teacher would move in…

  7. I was worried when my 4 year old son started JK this school year (2013/2014) and I was right to worry. He wasn’t ready. His school has full day Kindergarten. He couldn’t handle it. I had to pull him to attend half days. He was diagnosed in November with having ASD. He will be attending diagnostic kindergarten for his SK year (2014/2015). I’m sure he will do much better then.

  8. I am actually looking forward to enrolling my kid in school!

  9. Nate Fuller says:

    As we had more kids, (we have four) i got less worried about how they would do. We did what we could to prepare them and had to have faith we did our job!

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  1. […] abilities to stay still for longer than 3.5 seconds but we made it through.  He will be one of the youngest children starting school next fall.  Though I worry about his readiness  I know he can do it.  He’s a smart little […]

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