So for some background. [name_f]My[/name_f] oldest just started preschool. She just turned 4 within this past week. She’s only been in school for about a week. The preschool works closely and is located in the local elementary school.
So to my dilemma, during her preschool screening she completed all the tasks given her with ease (which is a kinder skills test they give kids at the beginning and end of the year). And I can tell academically she’s already bored even though we’ve only been going a week. Then when talking to her teacher at pick up, she casually suggested that next year we might consider skipping kindergarten and placing our daughter in 1st as she’s already mastered most kinder skills.
However I feel socially she is still very much at peer level. And after working in schools for 8 years I was of the opinion that usually kids do better when left with their peers. But now that we are potentially facing this with our own daughter Im doubting myself and wondering if we would be holding her back if we didnt let her advance. Wondering if she will struggle with behaviorial issues if we dont move her up to a more engaging academic level.
Any advice? I know its not a pressing issue as we’re still in our first week of preschool.
having been both the kid who is academically ahead/socially on par and as a preschool teacher, skipping kindergarten is a big deal for littles because it is so much about school routine and peer bonding and less about school skills. that being said, if she’s bored, school won’t be fun and it could set her up for social and behavioral struggles of a different flavor. and although it feels like ages, a week isn’t a super long time. she may adjust as she makes friends and find the tradeoff of peer playmates worth being a little more bored. (as a teacher, i always set up as many of my classroom activities as possible to be multi-tiered so that kids at different developmental levels could still enjoy. it’s easier to do as the year goes on and the teacher gets a better sense of the kids as individuals)
is there any way to provide academic enrichment outside of the school day? classes, tutoring, camps, subscription boxes like kiwicrate? if so (and if she’s interested!) that might be a good way to make sure her needs are met in all areas.
Teacher, but from [name_f]Canada[/name_f] where policies and educational practices may be very different.
[name_f]My[/name_f] district has a policy regarding avoiding retention and advancement because of the research on social drawbacks and advantages of being with same age peers. I’ll echo that Kindergarten is an important year for social development (turn taking, sharing attention, reciprocal play), routine building and general knowing how to be a student. Teachers are also encouraged to differentiate their practice to meet kids where they are, but admittedly those who are more advanced are often given the short end as more attention is focussed on those who require more help. Our Kindergarten teacher has had the occasional gifted/advanced student and mentioned she finds tasks within the class to encourage their academic skills (ex. they were the accountant in the class store to learn skip counting while others did numbers to 100, had more complex individual seat work), but they often still needed the social skills of Kindergarten so didn’t seem wildly different from their peers on a whole.
Don’t know what the educational philosophy is where you are, but I might think about social development and where your daughter is on that spectrum of skills as well.
Thanks! You are making me feel more confident in my original decision. Socially I know she would be happier in her peer group. And even if she doesnt get all of the academics she could, I feel kindergarten is more for making kids love learning than it is about academics anyway. I think her teacher mentioning that her first week of school ever just kind of threw me off.
And besides we already do a lot of out of enrichment activities. And she’s just a naturally curious type anyway. Which is why we didnt start her in preschool last year!
I can only give you our personal experience, so I don’t know if it helps.
[name_f]My[/name_f] oldest son (now 8) was also incredibly bored academically from the moment he started kindergarten. But unlike your daughter, he also preferred playing with older children. The idea of letting him skip kindergarten or a grade (later on) was suggested multiple times. [name_f]My[/name_f] ex-husband and I discussed it every time, but decided to leave him with with children his own age. We don’t want him to be unable to connect with children his own age.
But he was very unhappy at school, and after we had some other issues with the school as well we made him change schools about a year ago. The new school has a very good program for gifted kids (if that’s what you want to call them) and our son is much happier. He’s not bored anymore and has found some friends his own age that share his interests.
I think for your daughter it would be important to find other challenges for her, and things she enjoys. If she’s bored and uncomfortable, it might have an impact on her social skills as well. Does the school offer anything like that?
This isn’t the exact same situation since I never skipped a grade, but I was always a year ahead in school. I have a birthday less than a month after the age cutoff where I live, so I started kindergarten at age four and turned five shortly after. It was never an issue for me socially. I made plenty of friends in my class and didn’t feel like I was treated any differently. I did struggle a bit with imposter’s syndrome, wondering if I was really smart/mature/good enough for the class I was in. I grew out of those feelings after I formed stronger friendships within my class. The part I’m not sure about with your situation is if your daughter has already made friends. If so, that could be distressing to her when she has to leave them for a different class. Not sure if this was helpful, as it is just my own personal experience.
Sorry this is so long!
Some background, I was a straight A student who loved to learn but hated every single minute of school. I actually repeated pre-K for a non academic reason. Back then pre-K was only half a day (we went home at noon) and there was plenty of play time both indoors and out. By the time my youngest sibling was in preK 9\10 years later) it was the usual 8 til 3 and it was basically kindergarten.
Full disclosure, If I am ever blessed with children I plan on homeschooling.
I personally don’t like making 4 year olds sit still and do work sheets for hours a day nor do I believe there is anything important about bonding with same age peers vs people of all ages.
My 2 cents: You’re her Mom and you know her best, this is your decision so don’t let the school pressure you. At this age academic skills are very basic (letters and their sounds, numbers, colors, counting, pattern recognition, etc) but soon becomes more difficult in kindergarten where the number of assignments increases. There may or may not be an advantage to skipping a grade if she stars feeling overwhelmed by the workload. I would strongly recommend keeping her in her current class and providing enrichment as several previous posters have already suggested.
[name_f]Do[/name_f] not advance her. I taught grades 2-12 for 33 years.
This is one of the biggest reasons I would be hesitant to move her up a year. She’s already one of the youngest in her year as most of her class will be turning 5 during the school year and she turned 4 the week school started. So if we advance her she would be almost 2 years younger than the rest of her class.
We did not do preschool last year because I agree that little people should not be in school 8-3 and where we were living that was all that was available. However we moved and the current preschool she is enrolled in is only twice a week for 2 hours a day. And we are going to do 1/2 day kinder next year, then we are unsure if we will keep her in school or homeschool after that.
I have a 7.5yo who is academically exceptionally bright and well ahead of all of her peers. Socially, she has more struggles. I chose to keep her with her peers - with the Australian school calendar, she’s on the younger end as it is. We have faced behavioural issues at home which I initially linked with being bored but looking back I think it was more to do with the social struggles she continued to face. I know at school now (halfway through Year 2) they have small groups based on academic level in most subjects to help meet kids where they are. She’s happy with her school work. At home we try to supplement by giving her tools to pursue academic interests that might be beyond what she’s learning at school - math apps, documentaries, story writing notebooks, chapter books, etc.
[name_f]My[/name_f] sister skipped a year and needed to skip another because she was so bored. The school wouldn’t let her. Plus she was in the highschool band in the 6th grade. She ended up bullied because of it due to jealousy on the bully’s part. [name_f]My[/name_f] sister never fit in with other kids anyway. She’s always been an “old soul”. [name_f]My[/name_f] parents ended up pulling us out of school to homeschool and she flourished. She graduated at 16 with a full college scholarship. Now she’s a professional musician and worked in [name_m]Nashville[/name_m] for decades. She’s kind of semi retired to [name_f]Florida[/name_f] where she’s been voted the #1 entertainer on [name_f]Anna[/name_f] [name_u]Maria[/name_u] island 2 years in a row and is on their postcard.
I also graduated early with a scholarship and neither of us has regretted being pulled from public schools. [name_f]My[/name_f] parents made sure we still got to interact with other kids on a weekly basis. I attended dance/gymnastics 2-3 days a week and had a group of homeschool girls I hung out with.
Not saying you have to homeschool or that that’s the decision to make at this stage, but just letting you know other options for a gifted child.
We are betting we will be doing an alternate school route for our kiddos at some point. Though we are pretty sure we will do Kinder just to get a routine and understanding of what school is.
I’m sorry to hear about your situation. [name_f]My[/name_f] sister and my brother are teachers, and I listened to some of their advices. If she is getting bored, maybe the best thing is to get her doing an after school activity or sport that she likes, like crafts or dance or some other things. Also, I would check what the teachers make the kids do in school and how long the school is. Maybe she is just bored or tired because of the activities they do there. Then, if both things don’t work, you or your parent could make her do something that is at her level or ask the teachers to do that.
Granted this was many years ago, but my parents were in the same situation with me. I don’t think starting kindergarten rather than skipping it was a problem for me, since I was a kid who was able to deal with boredom in school pretty well and was not bothered by already being good at the academic stuff we were doing. In fact, I enjoyed kindergarten enough that I talked it up to my younger sister, who was then disappointed by being bored by some parts of it.
I think a lot of it is about personality. How might your daughter manage the lack of intellectual challenge? Is she likely to get a lot out of the other aspects of kindergarten?