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    #212138 - 03/08/15 07:10 PM early kindergarten advice or considerations?
    yykrissykk Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/17/15
    Posts: 14
    Loc: ohio
    So ive been lurking here for years, but this is my first post.My ds3.10 is in preschool(headstart) in a mixed age class 3 to 5. His teacher has him ability grouped with the prek kids for academic subjects. His initial brigance screen was perfect like 100 of 100. We have him in preschool to work on social emotional skills and that's going great! we really love the teacher and the program in general. The issue is that his teacher says if he's in her class again next year like he's suposed to be he will likely be in group in and of himself. For her to teach him anything new she'll need to individually differentiate, none of the other first year kids are where he is at all.

    Also, in our district they've cut basically all gifted programing. There's one coordinator for the whole district, and as far as I can tell she doesn't have an office in the schools or anything, like she's contracted out. If you go to the gifted program page on the website it outlines how kids are identified and depending on what page you were on previously there is a link to the acceleration and early entrance policies.

    The preschool is saying he is a good candidate for kindergarten. I tend to agree. All of us are skeptical that the school will take us seriously, but all you can do is try, right? So on the advice of the intervention specialist the school gave him the brigance screen that they give 5 year olds. He did poorly for him, missed the number 14 counting and his copywork was all a mess, and still scored 77 of 100 which is smack dab in the middle of what a five year old should get. He's in the top or above and in some areas well above across most areas of his school assesments.

    He doesn't read but is showing every sign that he will soon. Ideally he won't start reading right now, because based on how fast he learns once he gets going, and certain similarities to me when I was his age I suspect that the progression from cvc words to sentences to chapter books will be very fast, and kindergarten will be a waste of his time.

    So the teacher told me to call our local schools, give a little bit of background, and ask if they can test him for giftedness. I think they will say the only way to do that will be the early entrance referal, which has to come from his teacher or doctor because he's a may birthday.I think the idea is that asking directly about early entrance may give the school the wrong idea? The preschool is more than willing to do whatever they need to do.

    So all in all its not such a mess, at least not yet, but I keep feeling like i'm missing something, that there are other ways to look at it that I haven't considered. My sisters both think I'm crazy and say they would never do that. My sister says if she had it to do over she would keep my sep bday niece(15) back a year. Most other people look at me like I have two heads when I talk about ds intelligence in terms of the problems it poses. I think they think I'm bragging or pushing. I'm so anxious over all this i almost can't bring my self to make the necessary phone calls.
    Sorry I'm so ramble-ly.. but I will really appreciate any advice or suggestions.

    #212178 - 03/09/15 08:21 AM Re: early kindergarten advice or considerations? [Re: yykrissykk]
    Dude Offline

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    I think you have a genuine reason for concern here. There are plenty of stories of gifted children running off to school excited to learn something, finding little of that, and reacting in negative ways, often times with lifelong consequences. You have an educator telling you that your child fits this profile.

    The first thing I would do is read that acceleration and early entrance policy in close detail.

    The next thing I would do is explore your sister's comments more thoroughly, because WHY she feels the way she does may be important. How alike is your child to hers? How do her concerns match up to your DS?

    And then I would go ahead and ask for that early entrance referral from your DS' teacher, and use that as a starting point for conversations with prospective schools.

    I would not approach the schools with the question "Can you test my DS for giftedness?", because:

    1) Cognitive test results at that age are quite unstable.
    2) It comes off as tiger-mommish.

    Rather, by talking to them about early entrance, and when they ask why you're interested, you share the statements of your DS' teacher and the referral she has provided, you're on stable ground, and your concerns are coming from someone else besides you.

    These conversations don't commit you to early entrance, but it could be very educational to see what sort of institutional support or opposition you're facing.

    #212183 - 03/09/15 08:49 AM Re: early kindergarten advice or considerations? [Re: yykrissykk]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 5227
    Originally Posted By: yykrissykk
    I'm so anxious over all this i almost can't bring my self to make the necessary phone calls.
    Sorry I'm so ramble-ly.. but I will really appreciate any advice or suggestions.
    Great forethought to wait until you have your composure to contact the school district. To avoid rambling, you may wish to make a list of things you want to say, and another list of things you may share if asked. Then during your phone call, and in subsequent conversations, if it is not on the list DO NOT SAY IT.

    For example (your lists may be different):
    Want to say
    - live in the area
    - recommended by preschool to request gifted identification testing
    - child's age
    - are there forms for you to fill out
    - what does the gifted identification testing consist of
    - how is it scheduled
    - what does your child need to bring (water bottle, snack, lunch, toy for break time, etc)?
    - any prior testing your child has had
    Information to share if asked
    - list of milestones (note: begin constructing list now if you do not already have one)
    - list of child's interests, activities

    This is a good time to begin a dated journal of whom you spoke with, and a brief summary of each contact.

    Other helpful information for parents of gifted preschoolers:
    - Book: A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children, James Webb et al
    - Article on Davidson Database: Parenting gifted preschoolers
    - Article on Davidson Database: Extreme Intelligence in Very Young Children
    - Article on Davidson Database: Small Poppies

    More responses (focused on testing, acceleration) on your related thread, here.

    #212194 - 03/09/15 09:49 AM Re: early kindergarten advice or considerations? [Re: yykrissykk]
    cmguy Offline

    Registered: 03/30/14
    Posts: 387
    Early school has been a real blessing for our kid - it's not for everyone but it is appropriate for some kids.

    #212197 - 03/09/15 10:08 AM Re: early kindergarten advice or considerations? [Re: yykrissykk]
    Helianthus Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/23/14
    Posts: 29
    A year ago, we were in a very similar situation as you are. DS has a March birthday (so, young for his cohort). But he was reading by 3 years 5 months, and by 4 years, was fluently reading K-1 level books. We tried to work with his preschool to have them engage him cognitively in some way during the day, but although they meant well, it was clear they didn't really have experience with HG kids (they started by emphasizing handwriting, which was absolutely the wrong thing to do).

    We live in NC, which has a statewide policy about early admission to K, so we followed their procedures which included paying for private testing and meeting with the school. Testing was expensive, but it was very helpful to have hard numbers showing DS at 99.8/99.9 across the board.

    Our local elementary let him start K early, and I have to say it's been a mixed bag. Because he is so young, he has struggled with some things, including being overwhelmed by the noise/activity level of so many kids, dealing with a teacher who does not at all "get" giftedness and who is still making the poor boy match lowercase and capital letters, and classroom peers who are sometimes quite a bit older (1.5 or more years).

    Has there been an academic benefit? I don't know. His reading hasn't really improved. His math abilities have improved, but his love of learning is just about zilch when he's at school. (Not so at home.)

    On the other hand, he really didn't like preschool, either, so early K felt to me like the least worst option. Overall, I'm not sure I'm happy that we did it, but it also hasn't been disastrous.

    I think a lot of my reservation has to do with the school itself; it's a Title 1 school with a high ESL population, so they are dedicating a lot of resources towards helping the students meet state standards. It doesn't seem that they have much time/energy left for figuring out how to engage the gifted kids. YMMV depending on your school.

    I will say that the disconnect between his emotional maturity and his cognitive needs has been a really sticky problem for us. We're considering enrolling him in a private school for gifted students next year because we don't have any faith that the public school system is going to be able to meet him where he is.

    In short: what Dude and cmguy said. Early K works for some kids, not for others. My kid's an introvert, which I think has worked against him. He doesn't really have any close friends at school. The school psychologist swears that he fits right in and no one can tell that he's young for his grade, but we still worry about the long-term effects of feeling disconnected from both peers and the subjects they're studying.

    #212202 - 03/09/15 10:17 AM Re: early kindergarten advice or considerations? [Re: yykrissykk]
    Aufilia Offline

    Registered: 02/25/14
    Posts: 336
    Loc: Washington
    The advice above is great, but I am curious. You said he's in preschool to work on social emotional skills. Does that mean that you feel he's at a deficit in these areas, or that the point of preschool is as a social activity?

    #212219 - 03/09/15 12:22 PM Re: early kindergarten advice or considerations? [Re: yykrissykk]
    yykrissykk Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/17/15
    Posts: 14
    Loc: ohio
    Thanks everyone for a lot of great advice, especially indigo's list of what to say etc.

    Dude- the preschool teacher recommended that approach for the exact reason you are recommending the opposite approach. I just don't think it matters much in practice because the process is going to be the same. The school has to evaluate him with a teacher referral for early kindergarten. But they don't have to evaluate for giftedness in any other situation unless he is a k thru 12 student in the district, so it comes down to the process is the same so how does it sound. I think that the recommendation might also have to do with the advice of an intervention specialist at his preschool, who is used to dealing with special education concerns. I'm sure if you have a child over 3 that needs to be identified as having special needs the local school district is the responsible agency

    Helianthus, thanks for sharing your story,I bet it works out better in the long run, kids aren't usually having real best friends in kindergarten, so even if he's ready his classmates probably aren't. When I was that age my best friend was an 8 year old boy from my neighborhood.
    Aufilia, we put him in preschool at 3 so he would have that social experience but also he can be very intense emotionally, we were concerned just a little,and wanted him to learn some emotional regulation skills in a social setting. Also we were anticipating the current situation and wanted to make sure he wasn't being penalized for lack of preschool if it came to this. On his "report card" that we just got his social emotional skills are all rated above age level expectations. He can be a bit of a challenge at home, but seems to really get that certain behaviors aren't appropriate at school. He's also VERY rule oriented which works in his favor. This year did a lot for him,but in a way, I'm concerned that more preschool could even HARM him, because he's already putting real effort into being similar to the other kids, so he doesn't try as hard as he could. Like he stopped trying to learn to read for a couple of months and when I asked him why, he said "three year olds can't read" so we talked about it, and I told him some kids even younger than him can and some people learn in school and there are even people who never learn or always have a hard time wi th it, and he should just be himself, do his best and not worry about shoulds because everyone is different. And now he's interested again.

    Actually the thing I need the most help understanding is what is maturity in terms of school readiness. Ds is my only kid, and I don't have a lot of experience with other kids. He does have more 3/4 year old type fine motor skills, but the policy actually says they should accelerate anyhow and then provide accomodations as needed.

    The preschool said he lacked problem solving skills, like he was comparing boxes by stacking them up first,rather than looking and guessing before nesting,but I really think that there's something else at work there. This is the kid who figured out how to move furniture around to get what he wanted at the same time as he learned to walk, 9 or 10 Mos old. So either the activity was too simple and he was trying to make sure there wasn't something he was missing, or he was imitating classmates, either for social reasons or because its less boring.

    Also all day is a long time for him to be gone? Any advice on how to check our his ability to handle that ahead of time?

    #212278 - 03/10/15 08:10 AM Re: early kindergarten advice or considerations? [Re: yykrissykk]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 5227
    Originally Posted By: yykrissykk
    Also all day is a long time for him to be gone? Any advice on how to check our his ability to handle that ahead of time?
    If a child is toilet trained and does not need a nap, then the only barrier to being gone all day which comes to mind is being "homesick". It seems this occurs when there is not support (which the child is used to finding at home), and the child needs to develop new skills and patterns of interacting in order to gain supportive interactions in the new environment. If the environment is conducive to understanding giftedness and building supportive individual relationships with children, as well as fostering supportive relationships among the children... sounds like it's a go.

    #212285 - 03/10/15 09:28 AM Re: early kindergarten advice or considerations? [Re: yykrissykk]
    yykrissykk Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/17/15
    Posts: 14
    Loc: ohio
    I made the mistake of having a group conversation with both my sisters that day. My sister who still has a high schooler's experience is a little different from mine, but my oldest sister, who was part of the same conversation, had one kid who was definitely underchallenged in school in spite of a pretty spectacular gifted program, and another who just missed the cut off who was the typical great student type. So until it came to education, she's been my go to for advice up until this point. She feels early entrance would have been wrong for my nephew because he was "immature" as evidenced by frequent discipline issues centered around him goofing off. We have a genuine difference of opinion where I think my nephew would have had less behavior issues if he had been appropriately challenged. My perspective is different because of my personal childhood experience. It's do sad how the whole thing makes regular conversations about our kids growing up get twisted around sometimes.

    #212287 - 03/10/15 09:58 AM Re: early kindergarten advice or considerations? [Re: yykrissykk]
    MsFriz Offline

    Registered: 11/22/08
    Posts: 313
    Early entrance worked great for us, but the kindergarten class was only 9 kids, and DS was very outgoing, excited to learn and already reading fluently.

    Having that early "skip" built in made things easier later on, when DS needed to be skipped again, from 4th to 5th. He's currently at the top of his 6th grade class and absolutely loves school, so we have no regrets.

    My own mother refused offers to have me skip a grade for the sake of keeping me "ahead" of my classmates, which left me stunted in so many ways that I didn't hesitate to pursue early enrollment when it became clear that DS was advanced. To some extent, you need to just trust your gut.

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