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Skip First Grade?
Q: My six-year-old daughter (an August baby) just completed kindergarten. Her teacher said first grade is a waste of time for her, since she has already met all first-grade requirements.
However, she is shy and quiet. She's at the top of her class right now and feels very confident there. My husband and I were late bloomers and she still has not even lost her first tooth. She is very sensitive and cries easily. She is also short. I know she can handle second grade academically, but I feel like she is not there socially. Any advice?
A: What a quandary you are in! There are valid points on both sides of this argument. Your daughter has a "young birthday," so you didn't send her to kindergarten until she was fully six years. This is a common choice for parents. However, she is very intelligent in school, and now they want her to jump ahead. I am frequently opposed to kids skipping first grade. Many good skills, not just academic ones, are accomplished in first grade. What are your daughter's measured achievement levels? A child who skips a grade in the primary level years, or enters school early, should usually have an IQ at least in the 125+ range or be in the 98th+ percentiles.
If your daughter has a good first grade year, and continues to do very well, she can always skip a grade later. I have a saying: "Most parents have a PhD in their own child." If you and your husband feel that your daughter is a little young emotionally, then she probably is. If you were late bloomers, then she may be too. Tooth loss is genetic also, I afraid!
Unless your child has exceptionally high scores, I would tend to keep her where she's at for the moment. She will mature over the next year. By the way, don't make too much of the tears and the over-sensitivity. This is a hallmark of six-year-old girls. Acting confident and assuring her she will be fine when the tears start flowing, goes a long way to advancing her coping skills. Thanks for writing.
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Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.