Kindergarten readiness?? - LONG

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teach24iam, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    Ok, so I am confused...I work as a manager in a pre-school, but have also worked as a kindergarten teacher, pre-school teacher, student taught in elementary school all over. Anyway..now that I am a pre-school manager, I work with children getting ready to go to Kindergarten, so basically 4 and 5 year olds, and their parents. Recently, 2 of our students were told: "you are not ready for kindergarten, you need more work." Now, I really have 2 major issues with this, and many smaller ones...First...In Pennsylvania..Kindergarten is not mandatory, so telling a child they are not ready, is truly meaningless, considering, by law they do not even have to go. Anyway, that beside the point...2nd...HOW possibly could someone not be ready for Kindergarten? I know now a days, MOST, but definitely not ALL children go to pre-school, so telling a parent there child is not ready according to their "policy" is absurd. There is a school district that has guidelines for INCOMING kindergarten children that state (among many others): children must be able to tie their shoes, color within the lines, be able to cut perfectly on a line in any shape, write their name in correct Upper/Lower case manner, and many, many other absurd things. Excuse me......what exactly are they learning in kindergarten now? Algebra? It is absurd to assume that a child did or did not go to Kindergarten, let alone assume their parents worked with them on these things at home! As a previous kindergarten teacher, I spent my days teaching shoe tieing, cutting, writing, letter recognition and the such, and I LOVED IT. Never assumed and knew most of my kids did not know those skills....This is absurd and crazy to have such expectations of 4 1/2 - 5 year olds..........Education is getting out of control and unrealistic! Sorry so long...just very very frustrating..
     
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  3. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Is it a public school that told the families this? If it was the parents should file a complaint with the school district and the state. A child can walk into any grade being completely behind and the public schools can't say come back when you are ready. I teach first and I hope children walk into first with those abilities and more, but I don't expect it.
     
  4. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    One is a public school the other is a catholic school. The biggest overall issue I guess is that they are expecting all the kids to be equal..and what's the first thing we are taught in college? All kids are different, they all learn different, they all act different and that's a basic principle, it is not fair to have expectations of children like these who may never have gone to school! Don't get me wrong, I have NO problem with having high expectations for our students during the year, but not before they even start!
     
  5. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    Does anyone else think this is crazy or is it just me? I mean it's been a few years that I have not taught, and may possibly be going back this fall (not sold on it yet), but why can't kids be kids anymore?
     
  6. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Well, I can tell you kids do come in on all different levels and I could never see telling a parent they weren't ready. We get kids who have never been to any kind of school before, cannot write their name, don't even know how to count past 3. Our job is to teach them these things as you point out. There is no kind of screening process here, if they are zoned, they can register.

    Unfortunately, we really do have Algebra in our curriculum objectives for math - obviously it's not formulas or anything. They are required to be reading independently by May (at our school the goal is 30 words per minute. I do agree with you kids are not allowed to just be kids and I really think we will regret it when this generation grows up. I would also be appalled that a child was told they couldn't go because they weren't ready - will it turn into they have to be reading to enter Kinder? Like you said it's not mandatory and especially a public school - they have no right to discriminate, and that's what it is, they are discriminating against a child who was not prepared.
     
  7. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    I was joking about the Algebra, but that is too funny. The one letter from the catholic, school, stated that: our reading program is advanced and rigorous." Great...a bunch of young 5 year olds, that barely recognize letters should be rigorous? How about the basics? And yes...it is their job to teach them, why are they there? If they don't want to be bothered, give me their job, I'll do it!
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Well, my first grader would then not qualify for their kindergarden. Now, said 1st grader had a psycho-educational work up done by the University of Miami and his intelegence composites show him "significantly above average", he does read fluently and has a working knowledge of basic addition, subtraction and multiplication; however, he can't write worth a darn, can't tie his shoes and can't cut a straight line, let alone a shape. Needless to say, whoever wrote these guidelines is totally insane.

    I agree with the poster who said we're going to regret this when this generation grows up. I think there's a direct link between how much we push on kids too young to handle it, and their future educational success, but, unfortunately, that link is an inverse one.
     
  9. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I think this is INSANE... Now I don't teach preschool, but I know a few things about child development and you cannot expect all five year olds to do those things. Some may be able to do all of those things at 3, and some kids may still not be doing them at 7! That's how it goes!

    I am teaching a 4/5 preschool summer class and am amazed at the differences in the group. One boy can barely hold a pencil and does not know how to write the letters in his name (He can recognize his name and can find the letters with letter pieces) and other kids can write many different letters and even write "stories" mixed with real words and strings of letters. All these kids were in preschool last year!! (I am not ASSESSING them, this is a play group type thing not a school type thing, so I am just observing this in our daily quiet time where kids can look at books or make books.)
     
  10. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    That's what I'm saying..all kids are different and to assume they are all coming in at the same level is absurd, why don't we just skip kindergarten and put them right into first grade! The bigger problem is going to come down on the pre-school/pre-kindergarten teachers who are going to start being required to do more because the parents are going to claim "you are not preparing my child for Kindergarten", so by the time they are 2 and in pre-school they will want us to teach them to tie their shoes, write their names and do addition, which means they should be potty trained by about what, 8 months? God help us all, these poor kids are not going to know how to be kids, we are putting to much pressure on them....it's very sad.
     
  11. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Well, messing with mother nature is a very bad thing...we'll pay for this, and pay dearly. We need to go back and remind ourselves what "developmentally appropriate" means. Many, if not most, 5 year olds simply do not have the motor coordination to do what this district is asking of them. Lets see...we start telling kids that they're failures by age 5 and that they need to "work harder", even though they're physically incapable of doing it because of age and maturity...

    ...oh, yeah, that'll get them motivated and loving school and wanting to learn.....And I'm the reigning Miss America.
     
  12. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    I agree..we are supposed to teach them to like school, enjoy school and know that it is safe and fun, well guess what...if they are frustrated and too challenged at 4 and 5, they already hate school and guess what? we will never get them back!
     
  13. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I truly believe a lot of the handwriting issues kids face today stem from the fact they have pencils put in their hands before they have the fine motor skills to hold it correctly. No one teaches fine motor skills anymore - I know we don't have time for it. And forget about doing art projects either-creativity isn't as important as getting them reading (my administration's opinion and our Secretary of Education's, certainly not mine). We take a standardized test in January so they have to be able to fill in bubbles by then and it's about 2 hours a day for 5 days - but no pressure on these 5-year olds or anything.

    By the way, I've had G/T students reading on a 5th Grade level who couldn't tie their shoes! Teach24iam - I agree with you on losing the fun - is it so hard to believe these kids are trying to drop out by middle school? They have been working hard in class everyday, afterschool and even Saturday tutorials, summer school from Kinder on - I can't blame them for not liking school.
     
  14. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    My school does tell parents that some kids aren't ready. It is more of a maturity level that they haven't reached for kindergarten. This is maybe 1-2 kids per year for 120+ kindergartners. Edit to add: The kids aren't tested before school, this is based on observations after school has started.

    On the other side of this, we all know kids who barely make the cut off who are likely to always be behind their peers because they aren't as mature and don't have the skills that their classmates do. Letting them enjoy another year of preschool allows them the chance to start on an even ground and be successful from kindergarten on. I had a student with a very late birthday who struggled all year long. He was well within the range for his age, but with his peer group he fell behind. He made awesome progress and was on grade level at the end of the year but I feel that he will always be working an uphill battle. If he had the benefit of another year of maturity/school readiness he would have a much easier time keeping up with his class physically and mentally.
     
  15. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    As insane as it is, we are required to teach MUCH more demanding skills than ever before. It is not developmentally appropriate at all, but we have to met AYP so you start the early.
    My district (one of the top 10 in PA) has no entrance requirements though. If you fall within the correct age, you are in.
     
  16. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    The result of this seems to be the exact opposite of what is wanted. Teaching too much too soon is actually harming the kids. When will the politicians see this?
     
  17. MsMar

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    I think your first point is excellent that in PA you're not even required to go to Kindergarten unless you happen to live in Philly is excellent. Considering it's not even mandatory, why have such strict guidelines? My daughter entered Kindergarten writing her first name all in caps, not knowing how to spell her last name, not reading more than maybe 10 words, and she finished it just fine and at grade level.
     
  18. EMonkey

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    My fellow first grade teachers and myself have noticed children are a lot more stressed now than they used to be. The children are more inclined to chew on shirts and other signs of stress. It comes from the upping of the expectations and the removal of a lot of time for play and social interaction.
     
  19. KateL

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    I remembered a thread from about a month ago in the Kindergarten forum on this topic:

    (I tried to paste the link, but it won't let me! Go to the Kindergarten subforum, and the thread is a few pages back, around the middle of June.)

    Funny thing is, most of the people who posted there were in favor of schools having kindergarten readiness checklists. Why the difference in opinions between the two forums?
     
  20. RainStorm

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    In public school, if they are the correct age by our deadline date (5 years old) they may enter Kindergarten. If they are younger, they may not. It is that simple. Some parents have the option of starting their child when they just turn 5 or wait until the next year. Most schools will do a readiness eval if the parent wishes.

    In our public schools, students are expected to know all of their letters (both lower and upper case), be able to count to 10, etc. etc. K now is what 1st grade used to be.

    If by the end of Kindergarten they cannot do many of the things you stated, they will not be moved on to first grade, but will be given the opportunity to repeat kindergarten. After the 2nd time, they must be moved on to first grade, regardless of their level.

    Our beginning first graders are expected to be reading already and know how to count to 100 without pausing. The are expected to know how to tie their shoes, cut with scissors, etc.
     
  21. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    all absurd..to many expectations...and we wonder why these kids can't adapt socially or emotionally later in life..It's our own fault for all of this that we shove down their throats ( I know, we are just doing what we are told, but still..)
     
  22. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    What's on the checklist makes a big difference. Kindergarden readiness should be simple and straightforward. If the things on the list are "be able to sit for short times", "be able to follow simple directions", "recognize some letters and numbers" and things of that nature, I wouldn't be opposed to it. Expecting children to know all of their letters, all their numbers, tie shoes, ect before even entering K is beyond insane.
     
  23. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    I'm not in favor of any "checklist" to see if children are ready for kindergarten. This is their first time in school! if they didn't go to pre-school, if there family didn't work with them, they are not going to know these things, it is a kindergarten teachers job to do this!!!
     
  24. singingstacy

    singingstacy Rookie

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    I don't know any kindergartener that fits this description. I can't even color in the lines and I'm a kindergarten teacher! And don't get me started on cutting! I really can't do that!
     
  25. Tasha

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    I wanted to say a few things about the checklist: I posted a checklist for parents who are interested in what we hope the kids know at the beginning of the year. Many of the students will not know all of the things on my checklist. However, some parents want some guidance on what to work on, so I post a list. I honestly feel that the kids who don't meet the list aren't ready for kindergarten. Some of the things include being able to take care of your own bathroom needs without supervision, be able to sit for short periods of time, know your own legal name and other things of that nature. I have worked in a school that is very low income and has very little parent involvement. I didn't expect or have kids who came to school with real kindergarten readiness skills. The school I am in now serves a different population. At least half of the kids have a parent that stays at home with them. 90% or more go to very good preschools. Many can write their full name and recognize some sight words. I have different expectations for these kids.
     
  26. MissErin

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    It is really ridiculous, all of the things that are expected! This is why children dislike school by the end of elementary... I interviewed at one preschool where even RECESS was structured! MY GOSH, the kids can't even do what they want to do at recess? They have to participate in a structured group game? Now, I LOVE group games... but not all kids want to play them, and why shouldn't they have the freedom to choose what they want to do during RECESS! I was offered the job... needless to say, I did not take it. It was pretty strenous academic-wise, it was intense. Kids really do need time to be kids!
     
  27. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    Yes, yes they do! We structure way to much of their day, no wonder they have no creativity, no flexibility and a complete inability to adjust to any new situation.
     
  28. adventuresofJ

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    I can understand basing things on maturity and social skills on whether to move them out of kindergarten...but i learned letters and numbers in kindergarten, and how to play nice with kids who were not my family.
     
  29. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    Me too! I didn't go to pre-school, I spent my early years, playing outside, swimming, running, playing ball, not learning letters, numbers and my name, go figure, a teacher did all of that, and that was just 1/2 day kindergarten way back then and i turned out just fine! (well some would say) lol... :)
     
  30. KinderCowgirl

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    I learned to read from Sesame Street (I don't think many kids watch that today). We have no kind of checklist at our school. In fact, I suggested having an observation period when the kids registered so we could get a jump start on seeing where the kids stood academically, for planning purposes and was literally laughed at. It's funny to me because they want to even out the classrooms with high/medium/low kids, but we have nothing to base that judgement on.

    Anyway, like I said we get what we get on the first day no one is ever turned away. To qualify for our district's pre-K you have to be below poverty level or bilingual - so we get many children each year who have never been to school before. Does it make a difference, absolutely. But you know what some of these parents don't have any idea how academic Kinder has become - they remember naptime and fingerpainting. It's just not like that anymore. I think it was Time magazine that did a cover story last year about how strigent 1st Grade had become - so it's a widespread issue. I was at Target today (spending way too much at the Dollar Spot) and the cashier asked me what grade I taught and when I told her Kinder she said "Awww, you get to do things like fingerpaint all day!" How wrong she was.

    We are required to do weekly spelling tests, monthly benchmark tests and timed reading fluency tests - not to mention the standardized testing - it does take the joy out of teaching sometimes the way it takes the joy out of learning for them.
     
  31. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Let me clarify...I'm not opposed to a checklist as long as it's a "wishlist" and not a set of requirements. And, I was thinking along the lines of what Tasha said: Very basic, age appropriate things, with very little having anything to do with actual academic skills.
     
  32. MissFroggy

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    I have a friend who has a five year old daughter entering K in the fall (half-day probably unless they get in the lottery for full day) and she never went to preschool. (She turned 5 in June.) Not only that, but mom's priorities are ballet class and electric guitar lessons (yes she is FIVE) but not school. She sort of can spell her name out loud, but only when reminded, otherwise she only knows the first letter! She can almost sing the ABC's but not all of them, getting mixed up after LMNO.

    I don't think she is ready at all. Mom is not worried. They do NOTHING academic at home, barely even coloring and certainly not writing numbers and letters! I think they probably have less than a dozen children's books at home, and I probably bought them all. The TV is on constantly, they play video games, etc. She is a sweet kid, and smart as far as I can tell. I was just there today and did some rhyming with her which she caught onto very quickly and know she knows colors (we colored the children's menus at the restaurant) and we also played a game and she could count at least to 6, as we used a dice.

    In any case, she is probably not going to be considered ready and will be "behind" before entering school. They live in an affluent district. It is not always poverty that predicts who will come in ready and who will not. Her husband makes six figures and she stays home. She just has other priorities (like looking good, shopping, etc.) I think she parents well and the kids are very well behaved. The little girl can sit for a LONG time and play a game or draw (when I bring markers, since they never seem to have any at home.)

    She will probably be fine in the long run, but the teacher will be shocked when she sees this little rich girl come in with designer clothing and almost no academic skills!
     

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