What is a "mature" child?

Posted by: Aalynia

What is a "mature" child? - 06/02/21 12:10 PM

My DS5 should be starting kindergarten in the fall, but the principal is heavily pushing for a grade skip into 1st, with possible acceleration into 2nd for math later in the year. This is due to his scores on the WPPSI and WJ, as well as discussions with preschool, with us etc. The principal is worried he will be bored and not learn how to handle challenges (basically learn some "grit"). I deeply share that concern. He's already bored out of his mind in pre-k.

Academically, we know he's ready. We did the IAS, but since he has not taken the ITBS/EXPLORE/ACT/CAT/PLUS/SAT/SCAT/CTP-IV, we could not complete that section. He also does not participate in extracurriculars because he's in preschool and there's not much available for him prior to kindergarten, so he got 0s in those categories. His score on the IAS was 54, but I do think it would be higher if he had taken those other tests or had extracurricular opportunities.

I see the maturity of a child is often brought up as a decider for skipping...but what, exactly, is considered mature? He's a studious little guy--he's never been one for athletics, and deeply prefers STEM activities such as building circuits, doing logic puzzles, etc. He's also somewhat reserved--in preschool, he was initially shy and quiet but has opened up considerably in class. He now helps with the lower-ability small groups, sometimes gets sent to the TK class to do work, notices when someone is excluded and helps that child and so on. Is that maturity? Is it ability to focus? Because that is fine. Or is it the ability to stand up for oneself? He's also non-confrontational and doesn't seek help if someone is being unkind to him. He, in his words, just "find[s] something else to do." Is it the ability to join in with older children? He also has an older brother, DS7, so he's accustomed to being with him and his friends.

So how do you define maturity?
Posted by: aeh

Re: What is a "mature" child? - 06/19/21 02:02 PM

I'm going to answer the functional question first: if the principal thinks he's a good fit for grade one after extensive discussions with you and, critically, the preschool, then he is probably "mature" enough for this placement at this school. And wow, good for you that you have this thoughtful of an administrator, with not only willingness, but proactivity for thinking about your child's holistic development and growth mindset.

In the educational world, maturity can be defined as including some aspect of all of the qualities you've described, but really, most importantly, it's being able to manage the behavioral and self-management demands of an academic classroom, which the educators who know him best appear to believe he can. (BTW, his approach to conflict is perfectly appropriate at this stage of development, and actually quite sophisticated, since it requires being able to detach emotionally from the other person's behavior, and not allow someone else's bad choices to intrude on his inner life.)
Posted by: Eagle Mum

Re: What is a "mature" child? - 06/19/21 06:27 PM

My eldest was a globally mature child. She started long day care at six weeks of age and spent 55 hrs a week at the centre. As she neared her fourth birthday, it was clear that she was the most advanced child in the room of 4 & 5 year olds and she was indistinguishable in every way from the five year olds. As the child who spent the most time in the centre, she was socially very savvy and very popular. She had no trouble fitting in at school even though she was a year younger than her peers throughout school, but her sporting abilities also earned her a lot of respect (she won her first 2km school cross country race at age 4.25 yrs).

My middle child was more advanced academically than his sisters, but he lacked social maturity. At his day care centre, he was engrossed in his own explorations and often ignored his early childhood educators. We didnít contemplate early enrolment for formal schooling as we could see that his behaviour might be disruptive. When he did start, he was still in the youngest third of his cohort. He would do parallel activities to his classmates - for example when they doing maths exercise sheets with simple operations, DS would do the same sheets in Roman numerals, binary, in different number bases. He has enjoyed radical maths acceleration in high school.

Both approaches worked, but I think DS has had much, much greater autonomy over his own education, whereas both of my daughters were early entry students and essentially just followed the standard curriculum one year ahead of their age peers.

Posted by: spaghetti

Re: What is a "mature" child? - 06/20/21 05:29 PM

I think at that age, it's about following directions and staying engaged. Mine (now in college so long ago) was not given a choice but to skip K. They thought she was mature because she loved school-- I thought emotionally immature due to strong temperment, but learned that it was mismatch, not immaturity. Immaturity was another student who was skipped and used to wander off, couldn't follow the class in line, and couldn't start desk work without someone standing over 1:1.

How is the academic fit? Size? Athletics?

I think it's really hard as a parent to skip a kid this young. We may desperately hold onto a "normal" life. If you look at kids your son's age, do they look like babies to you? (when mine was in 4th grade, I couldn't imagine her being in 3rd with those little kids).