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    #224945 - 11/06/15 12:36 AM Meeting at school (PreK/reception)
    DianaG Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/15/15
    Posts: 82
    My DS is about to turn 5 and attends a lovely, fast-paced international school that follows the British curriculum. He's in the reception year, which is preK age for the US, and they started blending in class within the first couple of weeks.

    DS is way above the level, not just of his class, but of all of the classes. Reading is where it's particularly obvious, but I suspect he'd easily jump math levels if the instruction was higher level. His school is, despite being fast-paced, is still primarily play-based at this stage.

    We're meeting his teacher and one of the head teachers next week, at their request, because DS scored so high on the baseline reception assessment. The school scores very high because most of the parents have STEM graduate degrees and bright kids, but his score was exceptionally high.

    Maybe this is vague, but what should we hope for out of the conversation? My initial instinct is to let him stay in the play-based schooling as long as possible and hope he'll be fine without a full grade skip. Should we ask for some subject acceleration? How much should I try to push a four-turning-five year old?

    DS is bilingual and also enrolled in Dutch classes. His Dutch teacher said without us even bringing up the subject that there's no doubt that in Holland he'd have a full grade skip, even without knowing his test scores and how well he does in the English classes.

    Sorry for the long story. I guess I'm just looking for suggestions for how we can help DS, what to bring to the meeting because I don't even know what I want for him any more.

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    #224947 - 11/06/15 04:29 AM Re: Meeting at school (PreK/reception) [Re: DianaG]
    Malraux Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/21/15
    Posts: 30
    Loc: KY
    You know your kid best. With that caveat, for my just turned 5 yo kindergartener, getting him out of the play based stuff and into a more rigorous environment (relatively speaking of course, its still kindergarten) was the best thing that could have happened to him. He found the play based learning too slow and tended to cause trouble just so that something interesting would happen. But of course, that's my kid; yours might be entirely different.

    Why the opposition to a grade skip? I'll admit I'm pretty biased in favor of them, but the evidence in favor of them is surprisingly strong. I'm about to push for a grade skip of my DS5 (skipping first grade). I'd much rather he be in a class where the teacher doesn't have to have a separate lesson for him to keep him learning but instead he could learn with the class.

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    #224958 - 11/06/15 11:51 AM Re: Meeting at school (PreK/reception) [Re: Malraux]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    I would prefer to keep in more play based as long as he will tolerate and tgen skip as it is the sitting still part that not quite 5 year old boys have trouble witb. My observation is that 5 to 6 is a major change in boys who start school still baby faced and round tummied but by 6 you can start to see the adult they will become.

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    #224960 - 11/06/15 12:06 PM Re: Meeting at school (PreK/reception) [Re: DianaG]
    howdy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/13
    Posts: 279
    At preschool and preK ages, we did very very well with a play-based education and working on social skills only. It was when we went to regular kindergarten (very academic, very little play) and especially 1st grade, that we ran into problems. If I could go back and make the school do what I wanted (and I know now is best) I would have still done play-based pre-K, half day kindergarten and then skipped 1st.

    Good luck!

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    #224965 - 11/06/15 04:06 PM Re: Meeting at school (PreK/reception) [Re: Malraux]
    DianaG Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/15/15
    Posts: 82
    Originally Posted By: Malraux
    Why the opposition to a grade skip? I'll admit I'm pretty biased in favor of them, but the evidence in favor of them is surprisingly strong. I'm about to push for a grade skip of my DS5 (skipping first grade). I'd much rather he be in a class where the teacher doesn't have to have a separate lesson for him to keep him learning but instead he could learn with the class.


    Thanks for letting me know your experience. I'm very hesistant to consider a grade skip for DS because of his age appropriate social skills and fine motor skills. I'd hate for him to struggle a grade higher with writing or emotional control just because he needs a bit of maturity.

    The Dutch teacher said specifically that some behavior and maturity issues improve with a skip, at least in the Dutch system. I hope you can find a good fit for your DS!

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    #224966 - 11/06/15 04:14 PM Re: Meeting at school (PreK/reception) [Re: DianaG]
    DianaG Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/15/15
    Posts: 82
    Puffin and Howdy, thanks for telling me your experiences. My instinct as well is to let him play, since he's settled in school, happy, and as a proper little boy, loves playing.

    He already feels like a little man since he's matured so much over the last year, but I couldn't imagine him in a class with desks and writing exercises.

    He scored very highly this year on a maturity assessment, which is dramatically different from last year when he had a number of meetings about emotional control, so DH thinks he may be more ready to handle a skip. Perhaps it's also a good sign that he's already caught up to his peers socially/emotionally and will be mature enough for later skip if it's warrented.

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    #225261 - 11/17/15 03:23 PM Re: Meeting at school (PreK/reception) [Re: DianaG]
    Mahagogo5 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/11/12
    Posts: 517
    I'm in the let him play camp. We kept our DD in k instead of pushing for a skip, now the school is putting her straight into 2nd next year. I don't think she would have been ready to go straight into year 1.

    The teachers at K level tend to be quite good at differentiating I think because they do get kids at all stages.

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    #225262 - 11/17/15 03:44 PM Re: Meeting at school (PreK/reception) [Re: Mahagogo5]
    DianaG Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/15/15
    Posts: 82
    Originally Posted By: Mahagogo5
    I'm in the let him play camp. We kept our DD in k instead of pushing for a skip, now the school is putting her straight into 2nd next year. I don't think she would have been ready to go straight into year 1.

    The teachers at K level tend to be quite good at differentiating I think because they do get kids at all stages.


    Thanks for your perspective. That's what we're thinking as well now. AT the moment, DS's current preK teacher wants to see how far he can go, so she'll do her best at adding in extras for him (though I'm in the class enough to know the limitations).

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    #225280 - 11/18/15 05:34 AM Re: Meeting at school (PreK/reception) [Re: DianaG]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 602
    Loc: Europe
    Some Kids need the structure early (my oldest did), even though the socio emotional maturity wasn't there and the academic demands were way below his level - play based just made him anxious and show even less maturity than he had. When he was grouped with the older kids, he could adapt to a point. We let him enter K early - he would have been old for grade anyway.
    Some kids enjoy the play based environment (DD5 currently still does) and would wilt in an environment that is not developmentally appropriate (as in socio emotional maturity requirements being too strenuous) but may still not be academically appropriate (as in material still being stultifyingly easy).
    For DD, a skip now might be just right academically, but she is already young for grade. For her, we may have to opt for developmentally appropriate and screw academics for as long as we can.
    I'd make sure that the grade skip option stays on the table.

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    #225294 - 11/18/15 05:45 PM Re: Meeting at school (PreK/reception) [Re: Tigerle]
    DianaG Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/15/15
    Posts: 82
    Originally Posted By: Tigerle
    Some Kids need the structure early (my oldest did), even though the socio emotional maturity wasn't there and the academic demands were way below his level - play based just made him anxious and show even less maturity than he had. When he was grouped with the older kids, he could adapt to a point. We let him enter K early - he would have been old for grade anyway.
    Some kids enjoy the play based environment (DD5 currently still does) and would wilt in an environment that is not developmentally appropriate (as in socio emotional maturity requirements being too strenuous) but may still not be academically appropriate (as in material still being stultifyingly easy).


    Yes, I can definitely imagine your situation, and in another school, we would probably be looking at a different outcome. The curriculum is high level to begin with, and the fellow students are generally bright. Plus, the teachers are amazingly engaged. We're lucky at the moment.

    I'm glad it's worked out well for your older son!

    Originally Posted By: Tigerle
    For DD, a skip now might be just right academically, but she is already young for grade. For her, we may have to opt for developmentally appropriate and screw academics for as long as we can.
    I'd make sure that the grade skip option stays on the table.


    It's a difficult trade-off for academics versus maturity. DS5 is old for his year, so perhaps we'll be lucky and get him moved up when we'd like without too much fuss. I don't want to just let it go if he's as much of an outlier as it seems.

    With regards to your young-in-year daughter, my DH was grade-skipped as a child, also young for his year (May birthday with August cutoff). Still, aside from some typical bumps along the way, it was a great choice for him. He graduated at 17 as valedictorian and at 26 with a STEM doctorate.

    Hopefully, you'll find a better fit in a year or two as the maturity gap closes.

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