It is a subject I feel very passionate about, so I have sort of avoiding it up until now, since it is not very “today” thinking, but after reading this post from Cynical Dad, rather than just posting a comment, I decided to lay it out there, to allow some more discussion.
So what am I talking about, you are probably wondering by now, and rather than keep you in suspense any longer, it is about this seemingly new trend of holding children back when starting school.Â Now under certain circumstances, there may be valid reasons to do so, but I think it is being done far too often these days, and not at all for the right reasons.
Take the case of Cynical Dad, his daughter’s Pre-K teachers admits that his daughter is smart, but still suggests that he delay her entering Kindergarten because “she’d rather socialize than do her work,” and “She worries about what everyone else is doing instead of concentrating on the work at hand.”Â There are two glaring things that having gone through this recently enough both with my neice and then my daughter in sucessive years, I noted.
First there is no consideration taken for the fact that despite what they may be trying to prepare them for, unless this is a classroom setting, the kids still have more of an expectation of play-time at most Pre-K programs, especially ones that have kids from the time when they are toddler’s (or infants) up through Pre-K.Â They don’t view it as “school” and hence they do not treat it as such.
Second, when they reach this level, if you think about it, it is much like being a high school senior (on a much smaller scale of course).Â They are ready to move on.Â They have outgrown the atmosphere and hence are just going through the motions as they await the time when they “graduate” (don’t get me started on that whole new tradition).Â As such, they no longer feel challenged by what is being presented and they are looking ahead to the day they are “free” from that place.Â In that case, they are not going to excel more by making them go through it again, they are just going to be bored longer.
Third, who is going to dispute with me that girls are naturally social creatures.Â (Sure it applies to boys, but especially at this age, girls seem more likely to build social groups at this age.Â At least that is what I have seen.
Now, I have in the past when taking on this subject usually blamed the parent.Â But that was because my experience has been with parents that choose to hold their kids back in an effort to make them the “smartest and brightest” in the class by them being older and more mature than their classmates.Â This is the one that really gets my goat and makes me want to slap these parents in the back of the head.Â Because in this case it is not about the kid, it is about them.Â It is about bragging rights, and about how their child reflects on them.Â All the wrong reasons to hold the child back.
However, there is I have come to see more often now, the parents that are more struck with fear by the misguided recommendations of the teachers and others that really should be able to provide proper guidance.Â Here is where somebody like Cynical Dad sits.Â All he wants to do is what is best for his daughter.Â An admirable goal.Â But now he is forced into a decision by a teacher that wants to hold his daughter back from Kindergarten for what I believe is all the wrong reasons.Â Of course as a parent, you get torn in this situation.Â Because even if you believe as I do that the reasons are all wrong, you are still forced to sit there and contemplate it.Â What if they are right?Â Am I making the right decision?
It is an unfair situation to be put in. But one that seems far too common these days.Â We have spent more and more time making school teach these kids more and more, and expect more of them earlier (I certainly know the work my daughter is doing in 1st grade was nowhere near 1st grade work when I was a kid. [shut up]).Â But at the same time it seems like we are so ready to stall them starting.Â But why?Â Because we want them to reflect well on us?Â Because the teachers want it easier?Â Unless it is because of the child’s needs, it is not the right reason.
Where do you stand?Â Would you (or did you) hold your child back? Why?Â Why wouldn’t you?