Dear Dr. Sylvia:
I read your most recent column in the Watertown Daily Times with interest this past week. The question was one you answer every year. Is my child ready for kindergarten and how do I know if he/she is? I wish to thank you for reminding the parents that their child's preschool teacher is a good resource in this process. I teach 4K and cannot tell you how often I am asked to offer advice on this subject. I have learned to look at the whole picture when helping the parents with this decision. Often the child has a younger sibling, one who could end up in the same grade as the older one if the older one is held back. I look at what the child will be doing if not in kindergarten the next year. Will they repeat 4K? Or be in daycare all day? I look at the growth the child has shown through the year I have known them. And I also look at where the child is scheduled to attend kindergarten. This past year, I had a child I didn't feel was ready for kindergarten. The parents listened to my concerns, toured schools and decided on a great private school where their child will be in a small class throughout her school years. I was much relieved for this child, it is just what she needs right now.
The one thing I tell parents who are stuggling to make this hard decision is that it may be the right choice most of the years your child is in school, but some years you may have wished you had held them back or sent them ahead, depending on the year. But in the end, knowing that you cared enough to think this through, it means that you will always be there to help support your child in school and that is what is important.
Thanks for listening, now I have to get back to my reading. After all, it is summer and I am on break!