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Another Year of Preschool?
Q: Recently, my four-year-old son's pre-k teacher sent home a progress report that listed a number of skills he needed to work on. I have been working on these skills with him, and he shows improvement at home, but not at school. Should we send him on to kindergarten or another year of pre-k as his teacher suggests?
We believe that our son may be bored with the curriculum and is withdrawing because he is not receiving the right amount of attention in class. We are thinking about putting him in a private kindergarten. Do you have any suggestions?
A: You need to seriously consider the teacher's recommendation. It could be beneficial for your son to spend another year in a pre-k program. It would appear that he will be one of the youngest in his kindergarten class. And you need to realize that older boys generally do better in kindergarten than younger ones.
Why don't you go to your son's pre-k classroom and see how well the other children are handling the skills on the checklist? This will give you a truer picture of your child's skills at the present time. Young children do change rapidly, however, so he could have the requisite skills when kindergarten begins.
Now is also a good time for you to visit the kindergarten your son is likely to attend. Observe the skills that he would be expected to handle next year at this time. Is it realistic to believe that he'll be able to do well at this level?
Few pre-k children are bored with the curriculum. Instead, they may be in programs that are simply not appropriate for their developmental level. Does your son's school push academics at the expense of typical pre-k activities? If so, the school program may be turning him away from learning and taking all the joy away from attending school. The pre-k program should be fun for your child and make him eager to learn.
One of the reasons children attend pre-k programs is to learn that teachers cannot focus all of their attention on them as parents do. In kindergarten, your son will have to share the teacher with 15 or more children.
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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.