Rekinder?

My now 5 year old is approaching the end of Kindergarten.  She can read when she can sit still and she loves doing “number games”, which is what we call math.  She is also one of the taller kids in her class and doesn’t seem to have problems playing with others.

She hates school.  Mornings are terrible and my cheerful go-getter is often sobbing, screaming, begging and bargaining.  I find myself bribing her to go to Kindergarten.  There have been issues with bullies, but Lil’T informs me that the two problem kids are now being nice to her.

Every time I mention to the teachers that Lil’T is afraid of school, they are surprised and talk about how happy she seems.  Since I’ve been volunteering I notice that my child is quiet at school and therefore unnoticed.  Of course, the days I am there she gets picked to be a ‘special helper’.

Preschool was very similar.  At first she was in a big group (with mostly girls) and hung back in the shadows, too afraid to tell the teacher that her turn had been missed.  We switched to a smaller group and she just bloomed.  She was usually the only girl in the second group but she was a different girl than she had been in the other class.   She was outgoing, funny, confident and happy.  Maybe I need to put her in a boys’ school.

I think I’ll put her in kindergarten for another year.  Even though she is already so tall, maybe it will be ok.  I was always one of the youngest in my class, but I was also tall and got good marks.  I always felt ashamed for succeeding in anything and jealous that my self-proclaimed (male) rivals were never made to feel bad for doing well.  Part of me is scared that  girl who is older, taller, and more advanced than her classmates won’t be treated well.   Part of me is ashamed for having that fear.

Maybe things have changed.  I overheard a teenager on the bus patiently telling his friend that this teenager thought girls were smarter than boys since he thought his gal friends made good decisions.   Then this kid explained to his friend that the fact that this kid’s girlfriend did not want to sleep with him (yet) was not the same as her cheating on him and he was not going to break up with her.  He said that he hung out with his girlfriend because he liked spending time with her as a person and would if she were making out with him or not.

Maybe I don’t need to worry so much.

7 thoughts on “Rekinder?

  1. Kirstin says:

    In my recent child development reading, I’ve seen it argued quite compellingly that kids really aren’t ready for school before the age of seven, and I’m fairly convinced. It makes it harder for us Mamas to get back to career mode, with little ones at home longer, but maybe it’s worth it in the end. But I veer toward homeschooling or unschooling at the best of times…I struggle to see how our modern method of education properly prepares students for broader society–no offence meant towards teachers!

    Alternatively, is there a different school program nearby with smaller classes into which T would fit better? Montessori? Waldorf?

  2. prairienymph says:

    I know myself and I could never do full-time home or unschooling, but I support many who do. (Unless they want to protect their kids from dangerous ideas like evolution or human rights.)
    I really like this school because they can teach things I can’t: dance, opera, Spanish etc. We did look into a Montessori school, but it was really really expensive. The nearby schools with smaller classes are mostly ESL. Actually, this school did keep their class sizes down until the previous Conservative gov. cut funding to schools at the start of the school year. I’m hoping with our new premier they’ll be able to go back next year to smaller classes.
    There are problems with our system of education. And our economic system. and political system. Maybe they are intertwined.

  3. Kirstin says:

    It frustrates me that education must be so tied to economics and politics. But I guess that has always been the case. My biggest beef with the education system is that compulsory k-12 education has really not been around that long, and learning has been around since forever.

    There are so many interesting creative ways of learning that school systems often don’t have the energy, funding, manpower to make happen. I love learning and I want my kid(s) to as well. But I was terrified of school–especially junior high–and Brent used to develop horrible headaches on Sunday nights as he anticipated the start of another school week (due to bullying issues). That is just not the way things should be.

  4. ncsteph says:

    I don’t know if this will help or not, but as a primary school educator (in a previous life), I would like to encourage you to let Lil’T continue on to Grade 1. I say this from an educator standpoint & not a parental one, I know, but her ability to sit still (and therefore her reading skills) will benefit on a greater scale in Grade 1 because that is the level where structure is encouraged over “sharing” and “taking turns”… it becomes more of an educational setting – one in which she is able to reach toward academic over social standards. As a Grade 1 teacher, I noticed that the curriculum between K & 1 is HUGE; the emphasis is on learning measurable skills (in number games and reading, as well as social sciences, historical moments, cultural expression & scientific inquiry) in addition to building on social skills like taking turns and sitting still, but also teaching responsibilities based on positive reinforcement – if you’re a quiet one, you usually get chosen for a specific role like classroom helper or line leader – and there is also a more standardized method of making sure students participate in both social and academic activities)… this is why I rarely went into a K classroom — it felt more like babysitting and navigating the emotional chaos than it felt like an educational environment. There is a defined system of organization that exists within Grade 1 that does not exist in a K classroom: more encouragement, less containment.

    That said, you know what’s best for T… and if she’s anything like her mom, she may not be best suited for a structured environment 😉 — but if I had stayed in K longer, I would have gone crazy – I didn’t realize the safety & stability, not to mention the opportunities that a classroom had to offer until I got to Grade 1. Both as a teacher AND as a student. xoxo

  5. Lorena says:

    Ah, the joys of motherhood. How can you not worry? Isn’t worrying part of the deal?

  6. Quince says:

    I also think Lil’T will benefit from the structure of Grade 1, given her obvious academic abilities. Socializing will never be perfect for every kid. Every kid has a different personality, regardless of how much time you give them to blossom.

    I was going to suggest Waldorf as well, given the smaller class sizes – but it’s not for everyone.

    • prairienymph says:

      If Lil’T goes on to Grade 1 this year, she will be 4 grades ahead of her little sister and only 3 years older. Since Lil’T is our first, I already treat her like she is older than she is and I don’t want to steal a year of her childhood. Another year of kindergarten and afternoons of art, field trips to the zoo or the science centre and I get to keep her one more year – selfish? On the other hand, I didn’t need to be in high school as long as I was.
      I get the feeling she will be bored at school no matter when she starts grade 1. I view school as a place to learn structure and social skills but home is the place I hope she will develop a love of learning.

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