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    #14287 - 04/21/08 01:04 PM Kindergarten, experiences with skipping?
    JBDad Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/15/08
    Posts: 639
    Loc: Phila 'burbs

    From another thread...

    One of the things that DW and I will need to at least consider is skipping Kindergarten for DS5. I'd definitely be interested in hearing about other's experiences.

    DS5 has been in preschool for the last 2 years (initially 2-day and then 3-day). Academically he has mastered everything they'll cover in K, and probably nearly everything in 1st as well. However, we are concerned about the big shift from half-day to full-day class. Another thing we're wondering if it makes sense to shift into 1st mid-year. That might be a way to "ease into" 1st.

    We're hoping to talk with the school by the end of the month to see exactly what they recommend. This is our first child so this is the first time talking with people in our school district.

    How was your experiences?

    JB

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    #14296 - 04/21/08 01:53 PM Re: Kindergarten, experiences with skipping? [Re: JBDad]
    Cathy A Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/07
    Posts: 1783
    Loc: West coast, USA
    We decided to start DS (who is now 5yrs 5mos) in K at the public school even though he had already been in a private K for six months for several reasons:

    1. He was 4yrs and 9mos in September and we had concerns over the switch to full day.

    2. We wanted him to get comfortable at that school and we thought that half-day Kindergarten with lots of music and art would be a good way to do that.

    3. We knew (since older DD goes to that school) that the school administration would not agree to the skip until they had seen him in action over a period of months. Schools can be VERY hard to convince if you come in there saying your child has mastered their curriculum and should be skipped, even if it's true! They just don't get it until they actually see what your child is like.

    We have had great success so far with a midyear switch to first and planned promotion to second next year. Compacting two grades into one year can help to smooth the transition and can relieve school doubts about educational "gaps." A lot depends on your child's temperment and appetite for a structured academic environment as opposed to the less structured K environment. Some schools have VERY structured K's, though, and in that case early entrance to first could be the better choice.


    Edited by Cathy A (04/21/08 01:54 PM)

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    #14310 - 04/21/08 04:58 PM Re: Kindergarten, experiences with skipping? [Re: Cathy A]
    crisc Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/12/07
    Posts: 485
    Loc: New England
    Have you checked your state and district guidelines yet?

    We wanted to skip my DS5 at least a grade and it is impossible where we live. No early entrance, no skipping K to first grade. No exceptions. Our experience with our school district was nothing less than frustrating.

    I hope yours is better.
    _________________________
    Crisc

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    #14312 - 04/21/08 05:01 PM Re: Kindergarten, experiences with skipping? [Re: Cathy A]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    JB -
    I always reccomend parent sit in and observe what K looks like at their local school, as well as 1st grade - and perhaps 2nd grade as well.

    gifted kids tend to have gifted friends and relatives, so you may be in for a shock as far as what is actually going on in 1st and 2nd.

    1/2 day 'fun' K can be a good year, depending on the child's personality. Skipping 1st may be better. You may be able to guess from your child's preschool experience - how does he react to agemates? how does he react to being taught what he already knows?

    Best Wishes,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #14313 - 04/21/08 05:21 PM Re: Kindergarten, experiences with skipping? [Re: Grinity]
    JBDad Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/15/08
    Posts: 639
    Loc: Phila 'burbs

    Grinity,

    Just curious... shocked in what way? In terms of what they cover related to what our son may already know? Or in terms that they do get into more details that we're picking up from the published circulum?

    We received a call from DS's preschool teacher which prompted us to check the local elementary circulum. From what we can tell he's well beyond what they'll cover in reading in math for the first couple of years. (For example, night time reading is reading 2 pages of Harry Potter and then he reads 2 paragraphs to me. His math skills are similarly advanced). During his first preschool year he was very quiet. His teacher would tell us that DS "doesn't say much, but when he does, it's profound." This year he's really come out of his shell and his teacher says that socially he's very well adjusted and plays just like everyone else.

    I think we're relatively lucky in that DS seems to adapt pretty well and relatively speaking emotionally mature for his age. Our neighbor has a 7 year old (2 years older) who he plays with like a peer. He doesn't like to dwell too much on mastered concepts. He doesn't rebel, just doesn't show interest.

    Skipping 1st would be an option we'd consider but we wondering if that's a better choice because he'd have some friends he'd leave behind.

    Of course all of this is dependent on talking with the school district. We're still in the early stages, but we hope to sit down with them by the end of May.

    JB


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    #14314 - 04/21/08 05:24 PM Re: Kindergarten, experiences with skipping? [Re: Cathy A]
    JBDad Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/15/08
    Posts: 639
    Loc: Phila 'burbs
    Originally Posted By: Cathy A
    We decided to start DS (who is now 5yrs 5mos)
    ...
    We have had great success so far with a midyear switch to first and planned promotion to second next year. Compacting two grades into one year can help to smooth the transition and can relieve school doubts about educational "gaps." A lot depends on your child's temperment and appetite for a structured academic environment as opposed to the less structured K environment. Some schools have VERY structured K's, though, and in that case early entrance to first could be the better choice.


    That's good to hear. I'm hoping that at a minimum our district is open to that. PA doesn't require K so I'm not sure how much communication there is between K and the elementary school. Since I've heard good things about our particulary K-school, I'm optimistic.

    JB

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    #14328 - 04/21/08 07:55 PM Re: Kindergarten, experiences with skipping? [Re: JBDad]
    Belle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/15/08
    Posts: 435
    We had wanted to do the same thing with our 5 year old. He is supposed to go into K next year and as a K teacher in the state, I know that he is well past any of the K curriculum - he is well into 2nd grade for reading and in some cases 3rd grade for math...so sitting around doing circle time while singing the ABC song won't cut the cheese with him :-) We found out in Florida, since K is not mandatory that they do not allow early entrance or skipping of Kindergarten. I have heard of a few cases where a child was allowed to attend K for a few weeks and then was "skipped" up to a TK-1 class which would still make her move on only to first grade the following year with the possibility of skipping at that point. So we have decided to opt out of the public schools for next year and stay with our Montessori school so that he can continue with that curriculum. I wish you lots of luck!


    Edited by Belle (04/21/08 07:58 PM)

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    #14329 - 04/21/08 08:00 PM Re: Kindergarten, experiences with skipping? [Re: JBDad]
    Cathy A Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/07
    Posts: 1783
    Loc: West coast, USA
    JBDad,

    Our approach was this:

    We treaded lightly with the school when we first talked to them. We approached them with general questions about their gifted program and acceleration policies. We did not go in with the expectation that a plan would be made right away. We made sure that he did every scrap of Kindergarten work and turned it in, no matter how easy it was. We recorded all his reading on the reading log. After his abilities became apparent to the teacher we started talking to her about differentiating his classwork. That led to a test to determine his reading level. We applied to DYS and asked the vice principal to write him a recommendation. To do that, she did a 1 hr "interview" with him where he did 2nd grade money problems for her.

    The K teacher began to realize how difficult it would be for her to provide appropriate work for him in the K class. We never said he was "bored" but I expressed my concern that he was getting in the habit of tuning out in class and that the lack of challenge was not good for his work ethic.

    I then went to work on the principal. I formally requested that he skip to second grade next year. She reluctantly agreed to let DS try going to first grade in the afternoons (after his morning K.) It went very well--I don't think she was expecting that. She began to tell me how "unusual" our request was so I brought her a copy of A Nation Deceived (vols. I and II) and his IQ scores. I said that I understood that our request was unusual but that this was an unusual situation. Two days later, he was officially a first grader.

    The whole process took several months. I am in CA where K is not required either. In CA, you have to be at least 5 to be early entranced to first. DS was switched to first when he was 5yrs and 4mos.

    It's good to sit in on the classes to get a feel, not just for the curriculum, but also for how structured the environment is.

    If the K is in a separate school you may want to go to the Elem. school and talk to them about their early entrance requirements. You may also be able to find policies for your district and state online, which is a good idea. That way, you won't be snowballed by administrators who tell you it's "against their policy" to do something.

    Cathy

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    #14336 - 04/22/08 02:48 AM Re: Kindergarten, experiences with skipping? [Re: Cathy A]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    Cathy, I smile every time I read your son's story, you just did such an excellent job advocating.
    Now that we are winding down the school year, I realize kindergarten wasn't as bad as I thought, but in hindsight, maybe we should have done something different.
    The benefits have been that it is a half day and for DD5, I think she really needed that.
    Socially, I think she really enjoyed it. Although mid-way through the year we started to have some pretty big issues with boredom.
    I know where I live, you do not need to send your child to kindergarten. A child is not considered truant before they are seven years old. I've heard quite a few parents of kids who were advanced did not,in fact, send their child to K at all.
    It's hard to look back and say, we should have done this, or this would have worked out better, there's just no way to tell.
    I think the best thing to do is pay attention to how your child is doing in the situation, trust your instincts and keep in communications with the school.

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    #14339 - 04/22/08 04:55 AM Re: Kindergarten, experiences with skipping? [Re: JBDad]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Disclaimer: My son went through public school and my goal for him was to be a 'good citizen' no matter what the personal cost. I figured that he was bright, but didn't see what difference that made. Ouch!

    Originally Posted By: JBDad

    Grinity,

    Just curious... shocked in what way? In terms of what they cover related to what our son may already know? Or in terms that they do get into more details that we're picking up from the published circulum?


    JB


    LOL JB -
    There so much to be shocked over - it will vary depending on your expectations.

    Here are some likelies -
    1)How little new material will be availible for your child
    2) How much time is spent on stuff that looks dull and easy
    3) How appropriate the material is to most of the children in the classroom
    4) What the other kids consider fun
    5) How the children and teachers treat children who 'don't fit in.'
    6) How the other children aren't expected to have any abstract thoughts
    7) How arbitrary the rules are, and accepting the children are
    8) How much of a time waster school that's taught below readiness level is for a child.
    9) how much variety there is between teachers in the particular of - how do they react to ideas that they may not have thought of before. You want a teacher who treats a child with love and respect even when feeling 'a bit insecure.'
    10) How much built in flexibility there is - are some children allowed to go up a grade for their reading or math times?

    Now - I don't know how you will feel while observing, but my hunch is that your 'internal gauge' of how far from normal you kid actually is could use some tuning - mine sure needed to be at that stage. It isn't that schools are bad. It is that some children just are at a different place then they are expected to be. And the most chilling thing is that typically teacher don't see more than the iceburg's tip, if that much.

    Best Wishes,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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