Posted tagged ‘academics’

What’s kindergarten for?

October 1, 2008

Kelly posted a question about academic expectations in kindergarten: “We have son born in July that just started Kindergarten. We made the decision to not hold him back. (Bucking that trend) Now, we are faced with reports that he needs help focusing and staying on task. What is realistic at this age? I worry that since we did not hold him back that he is being judged against kids that are 1+ years older than him (reference trend of holding boys back). Wonder if this has paved the way for more ADD diagnosis. Thoughts on what is correct expectations at this age? Also, any tips for us to use to try to get him to focus.”

First, let me thank you for “bucking that trend” and starting your son in kindergarten. I’ve written before about how routinely holding kids back is going to lead to problems for many children, both the held-back and their younger peers. Unless a child has a specific delay in intellectual or social development, it is almost always a good idea to get children started in kindergarten when they’re supposed to start. As you’ve seen, though, so many parents are holding especially boys back that the ones who are placed appropriately are often compared with children a year or so older. This is helping nobody. You’ve got an interesting idea about how this might be increasing the rates of ADD diagnoses—I have not seen any studies about how a child’s exact age compared to grade affects the rate of ADD diagnosis, but it’s a plausible thought that ought to be explored.

What should we be teaching our preschoolers?

May 22, 2008

Holly posted, “In today’s media-rich, standardized academic world, it is easy as a parent to get pulled into the frenzy of preparing kids for the future and to lose sight of what is appropriate and natural development. My philosophy has been to let my 22-month-old twins explore the world through discovery play and not to drill them on ABC’s and 123’s. But it is definitely a challenge to maintain this philosophy when I hear stories of other toddlers ‘counting’ and doing other school-readiness activities before age 3. So the question becomes — how do we as parents know the right time to work on numbers and letters with our children? Do we wait for natural interest to show up after a certain age, or do we incorporate number/letter concepts into activities from the beginning?”

The pendulum in the United States has really swung towards more academics at an earlier age. (more…)

Holding Junior back

May 19, 2008

Kelly posted, “Can you talk about the thoughts on holding back boys from Kindergarten with late birthdays? I have a son born in July. I am seeing several families in our preschool holding kids back a year. What are your thoughts?”

Holding kids back does seem to be a trend these days, especially boys, and especially boys with summer birthdays. Though it may be a good idea for certain individuals to be held back, in the long run this trend is going to be a problem for all of us and all of our children.