Parent Asked My Opinion on Skipping Kinder...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeacherGrl7, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    Jun 9, 2012

    I received an e-mail from a parent yesterday explaining that they have been speaking for a long time about their child skipping kindergarten. They asked my opinion and for information on the procedure for doing so. My gut reaction is that while the child is very bright (knows letters, sounds, is reading to an extent, understands math concepts, understands books, is a bright child all around), I don't feel that she is SOOO smart that kindergarten will be a disservice to her.

    Without knowing the child, what are your thoughts on skipping kindergarten? Pluses, minuses? What do you look for in a child before suggesting a grade level skip?
     
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  3. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Jun 9, 2012

    I think there are some parents out there who believe most of what takes place in Kindergarten is the same as preschool. Therefore, they may feel their child can just go straight on to 1st. I knew parents who had a 4 yr old and had him tested to skip kindergarten. It didn't go well and the little boy felt bad about it :( . In my opinion, even if a child has all the academics, the social interaction is important at that age. I agree that it wouldn't be a disservice. Who knows? They may be pleasantly surprised at everything kindergarten can do for their child.
     
  4. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I would tell the parent that although the child may do well academically, there are two important considerations. The first one is to consider the social aspects of the move - would the child always be the youngest, never the leader, being exposed to things by other kids they aren't socially ready for, always struggling to keep up socially and emotionally?

    The other thing to consider are the long range implications. Young high schoolers really struggle. A boy may be the last to go through puberty and feel like a little boy among men. A girl may be asked to date boys considerably older and she may not be ready. Neither may be emotionally and socially ready for the situation. Also, it can mean sending a 16 year old away to college - a recipe for trouble in many cases.

    Oh, a third - I have seen many kids who skip actually end up missing some basic instruction that most kids get in that grade which causes them to struggle in the next even though they are very bright.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 9, 2012

    I would point out the state standards to the parent and have them determine if their child has met the requirements for kindergarten. If the child seems to have a good grasp of the content, I might consider skipping them.

    However, I would also bring up the social aspect of attending the grade level. I've seen children skipped to first and their socializing abilities tend to be delayed-- they're younger, so that makes sense. A parent might want their child to attend kindergarten simply for the sake of learning how to socialize with other children in the classroom and learning normal school routines. To me, those skills are just as important as content knowledge.
     
  6. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jun 9, 2012

    I've met so many parents who think their child is ready for the next grade, but really don't meet the standards for the next grade.

    My questions would be how is the child socially? What is the child like physically? Big, small? (off topic, but I remember my parents discussing whether or not to retain my brother. He was the biggest child in his class & would have been much bigger then the younger kids. They decided not to retain him). If he's a very small child it might be a consideration.

    Can this child interact well with older children? At this point in time, can he successfully complete all of the standards for the end of kindergarten?
     
  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I am not sure how I would explain it best to the parent, but I would make sure I made it clear that I would not recommend skipping Kindergarten. The research shows that this is not a good age to skip.
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

    Three big, big reasons.

    That's the extent of her knowledge? If I got a beginning of the year first grader at that level, I would not be all that impressed. I have lots of students who are "reading to an extent" and "understand math concepts" in August and often by December some of them are struggling to understand long vowels and complete a story problem.

    Now, if you throw into that mix a child who is five or significantly younger than six, I go from not impressed to downright worried. If the child is age appropriate and can't get the idea of subtraction, then there's a good chance he or she can learn it in a reasonable amount of time. But if the child is a year younger than their peers, there's a good chance they might struggle to learn concepts that should normally come quickly to a first grader.

    Which brings me my second reason. I call it "academic maturity" or the ability to emotionally and behaviorally handle the challenges of first grade. A first grader has to sit and listen for a longer amount of time, read longer stories, write longer paragraphs, do more math problems, and be much more of a "student" than a kindergartener. Again, the odds are that this will be far more difficult for her now than a year from now when she has grown a lot more brain cells.

    Finally, skipping kindergarten means she will always be a year younger than her classmates. So even if she does well in first grade, there's no guarantee that she would not struggle down the line. We all know, for example, that there's a big jump between third and fourth grade. Some kids, in order to make that jump, need every brain cell they can grow before the start of 4th grade. Worst of all, by that point, grade retention becomes extremely devastating from a self esteem standpoint.

    There's a lot to be said for being one of the most advanced kids in the class. I've had a lot of first graders enter my class already knowing pretty much everything we teach up to December. I've never had one of these students complain they were bored or lose interest because school was too easy. That behavior comes much later. For the most part, advanced children in primary grades get enough of a kick out of being advanced that they gladly participate in all of the lessons along with the rest of the class. I'm sure this is true for kindergarten as well. Moreover, any good kindergarten or first grade teacher will supplement their lessons for advanced students.
     
  9. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    What is the reason they want her to skip-because they think she already knows everything they teach in K?

    I do agree that Kinder is much more stringent than parents usually realize. I get a few kids every year who enter reading to an extent. I work on fluency and comprehension with them. I think as long as you assure them that the child would still be challenged, there would be no point in skipping the grade.

    I didn't even think they did that anymore.
     
  10. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Just the fact you are saying the child is reading to an extent makes me say no way. An extent means kind of sort of, which is not enough reason to have a child skip a grade. All the stuff listed by the other pre-posters also are things I agree with.
     
  11. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 10, 2012

    There certainly are a lot of strong opinions about retention and skipping grades, but I'd encourage you to look at what the research (i.e., collective experiences of many, many people) support in terms of decision-making. My understanding of the research is that skipping grades (as well as retention) is almost never a good idea, but CAN be, provided that it meets certain criteria. As a general rule, though, it would not be advisable for a child to skip a grade simply because they were doing well in the current grade.
     
  12. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    Jun 10, 2012

    I always have the opposite problem of having to convince parents to repeat their child. As diplomatically as possible, I play the confidence and top of the class card. If they go ahead into grade 1, they will struggle and be at the bottom of the class. If they repeat and then go into grade one they will be at the top, have a lot of confidence and that goes along way to succeeding all through school.

    Let the child feel they are top of class. The kindergarten teacher should cater to their 'advanced' level.
     
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    This may make some intuitive sense, but most research out their doesn't support that children who repeat grades end up with higher levels of confidence.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Can we assume that you were the child's preschool teacher? If not, I can't begin to imagine why she asked you.

    I would bump it up to administration. There's no way you should be put on the spot with a recommendation to a parent. It puts you in the position of having expressed an opinion in favor of something that's an administrative issue. If administration asks, then you express your opinion to them--THAT is the procedure.

    Let mom know which administrator she should approach.
     
  15. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    Jun 11, 2012

    Thanks for the opinions, everybody. I spoke to my administration this morning, and they said point blank that they no longer skip. Period. I knew it had been rare but was not aware that the practice was null and void. That helped my response significantly! They did assure me that if a child enters kindergarten and is particularly advanced in a certain subject area, the child will be sent to first grade for that particular subject and then go back to their kindergarten classroom. This has happened with two of my students in the past.

    I basically informed the parent of the procedure on skipping- or lack thereof- and then reassured THEM with the information about moving up temporarily if it is deemed necessary. I also offered my opinion that I think the child will excel in kindergarten but I am certain her kindergarten teacher will find ways to challenge her. I also mentioned that this particular child tends to get upset and shy when an incorrect answer is given or when she doesn't know an answer, and that I think it would be better for her to be at the top of her kindergarten class than to struggle in first grade.

    Hopefully they agree.
     
  16. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm glad you have an answer. I think that most schools have adopted a no skipping rule.

    I think in many cases skipping is not beneficial, however, there is another side to it. A Nation Deceived is an interesting read...
    http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/nation_deceived/
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    If we're going to skip kids, we need to have the support in place to make that work - which includes ensuring that the classrooms into which kids are skipped are safe places for them, and also ensuring that we differentiate kids who really do need acceleration and high achievers, who function at the top of their grade range but don't necessarily need acceleration, aren't skipped just to satisfy their parents' egos or demographic pressure.

    If we're not going to skip kids, we need to ensure that the kids who aren't skipped but desperately need acceleration are truly getting their needs met.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jun 12, 2012

    Good response.
     
  19. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I also explain that the learning curve tapers off, and the child may be overwhelmed later.
     
  20. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    Thanks, Blue. I agree with you about the learning curve- I will be using that in the future!
     
  21. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I agree with most of what was said here.

    Then I looked at it in a bigger non-academic picture. Theoretically by skipping kindergarten, the child is skipping a year of their childhood. They'll stop playing with dolls and toys earlier, go to middle school a year sooner, they'll most likely date a year sooner, do everything a year sooner with their grade level and not "age level" peers. They'll graduate high school at 17 or even 16, go off to college earlier. They will then most likely graduate college a year earlier and be expected to enter the "adult" world of a job, paying off loans, etc. etc. a year earlier at 21 rather than 22.

    As a recent college grad I'd say give the kid the extra year of their childhood!!! What's the rush?
     
  22. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    In my opinion, it's not about rushing; it's about meeting their needs. Those that would benefit make up about 1-2% of students. I think it's easy for administrators to say no since they'll be right most of the time, but what about the kids that really need it?

    (I realize this kind of veers off the original thread since we don't really know if the student being discussed is gifted. Parents do have insight into this though.)
     
  23. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    That's why I was on the fence about it as well. I know we don't know if this kid is GT-but I can tell you I teach a Kinder class that's usually about half GT kids-most of those them are still missing the foundational skills. Even if they can read words, they have no comprehension strategies and don't know the rules of phonics-you kind of have to teach reading backwards. Some are excited that they are reading "chapter books" but they don't know a lot of the vocabulary.

    However I also I know today as TG stated, many people don't challenge these kiddos the way they need to be. As with most teachers they are worried about bringing up the ones that are low. These advanced kids are still coloring the letter "A" for homework or the extent of their small group instruction is "go read a book" or worse, go help Johnny learn his letters. I think done correctly either option would be effective. But I do understand a parent advocating for making sure they are being taught at their level.
     
  24. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Kindergarten is now required in my state, so that would be a no.
     
  25. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    If the child really is capable then I think they should at least have to start kindergarten and prove themselves emotionally, socially and academically first.

    We can't just take a kid and throw him into special ed on the second day of kindergarten because we think he's a little slower than the rest or a little behind on his letter sounds. It can take weeks and months to classify a child who has a minor learning disability or a speech and language impairment. Teachers and specialists need to have documentation to prove that the child needs those services.

    Shouldn't it be the same for students who are gifted and talented whose needs would best be met by skipping grades? I mean technically gifted students fall under special education too right?

    I think if it were my child and I was in that situation I'd want them to be in kindergarten and then push for them to skip 1 or 2 if they were really that capable and that ready.
     
  26. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    Jun 14, 2012

    So, I heard back from the parent today- very polite but made it clear that they are firm in their belief that she should be skipped. Asked if we should meet in person or if they should contact the principal.

    I think that since I have answered their question to the best of my ability, and gave my opinion as they requested, I should take this opportunity to bow out and hand the situation over to my principal. Curious to see how it will pan out...
     
  27. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Jun 14, 2012

    Well, it sounds like they will be told no.

    I'm surprised they weren't already talking with the principal (and looking into policies sooner)! I think early entry to K would be better than going straight to first grade, but that usually isn't allowed either.
     

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