Why Early Kindergarten Is Not For Us

“Because…really…what’s the rush?”

It’s a canned response I’ve dished out lately when parents have asked about testing my four-year-old daughter for early admittance into kindergarten. Willa bakes cakes, packs her own lunch for preschool, and has been picking out ensembles and dressing herself since she was three. She’ll be five in October, which means she misses the cut-off by two months. Sure, it’s just two months. However, I am in no way interested in having her tested for early admittance. And this bewilders people.

So again I ask, “What’s the freaking rush?”

Academics aren’t the whole story. Willa’s language is impeccable. She correctly uses words like “hilarious” and “ridiculous.” She knows her letters, numbers and can articulate her emotions in the midst of a tantrum. But that’s just it; she can be incredibly open-mouth-throw-your-head-back-and-cry dramatic when things don’t go her way. This is something we are working on and I believe is improving as she matures. In the meantime, we interact with other kiddos her age through play dates, soccer and various activities outside of the classroom.

2_Fairy

Girls are meany pants. Being the youngest girl in kindergarten isn’t a big deal. But that also means, she’d be the youngest in middle school, high school and graduate before she’s 18. Growing up I was not just the youngest, but also the smallest and last to develop. My classmates were brutally cruel and isolating. I’d like Willa to experience things like learning to drive and buying her first bra with her peers. Seems trivial now, but try being the only girl at Lindsay D’s 13th birthday party without a training bra. I can still hear them laughing at me.

3_Fearless

Society injects the growth hormone. When I was confused or curious as a kid, I talked to my mom or best friend. Kids just google it. They have access to endless information—videos, apps, outspoken older siblings. The lines between what’s real and what’s absolutely untrue aren’t just blurred; they don’t exist anymore. My kindergartner has learned about Pokemon, how to kill a zombie (in full detail), and has two peers “marrying their girlfriends.” I have to restrain myself from calling his classmates’ parents and screaming, “DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR KID SAID,” when he shares what he learned at school that day.

4_silly

Let them be little. It’s one of my favorite hashtags and parenting perspectives. “At the age of four you should be running around in a sandpit and the garden making cups of tea and doing whatever with muddy water,” said Labour Leader Andrew Little, in a recent msn.com article on early admittance. Are my hillbillies the only kids who still make mudpies? They are perpetually dirty exploring with all their senses, just as they should be at six, four and almost two years old.

5-mudpie

I’ve said many times in previous posts how terrified I am to bring my kids up in today’s world. This is why as a parent I’m setting my own boundaries. Less technology, more free play. Slap on the sunscreen and get outside. Go for a walk, climb a tree, walk around with dirty toes wearing flip flops. Because it’s close-toed shoes and assigned seating from here on out kid. Most of what you learn will come from some punk on the school bus, but I hope (and pray) that the foundation we are building today is both strong and comforting when you are ready to leave the nest.

IMG_9691

Each kid is different. My own three are from different planets. What do you think about early admittance: is your little ready for kindergarten?

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. lindseygeiss says:

    Well said! We’re in the same boat, and I couldn’t agree more. Early admittance testing crossed our mind only briefly given my daughter’s academic and language skills – we didn’t consider it for the same social/emotional reasons, in addition to her petite size. I hope waiting helps my daughter grow into more of a leader in her class and throughout her life.

  2. Denise says:

    I took the other approach. I was an early kid. Graduated at barely 17 and loved being the youngest in my peer group. My daughter Alexandra is in the same position. I pushed her forward and now her maturity and academics are on the same playing field for middle school. I love that she will have the option to travel and take a gap year before starting college and still be right in line with her age group. Regardless the path, success is determined by how they are loved, nurtured, and supported!

  3. ProjectMom says:

    I think every kid is different and there’s always multiple perspectives… I was the oldest in my class and hated it. I felt like I couldn’t relate with a lot of my classmates, often thinking they were immature and ended up hanging out with people one or two years older than me… No matter what grade she falls in, there will always be “mean girls” or something she has a hard time with… Go with your gut. Whatever you choose, I’m sure she will adapt to and conquer!

    1. Roaringacres says:

      I think ‘go with your gut’ should be a bullet for almost every mom posts. It’s incredible how accurate it is. Thank you for taking the time to stop by my site! #momsunited

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s